Saturday, May 24, 2014

Interview with Georgi Klissurski '14

Excerpt from my March 24 interview with Georgi Klissurski '14:
Callista Womick: We already touched on this a little bit, but have there been any times when you didn’t feel like you fit in here?
Georgi Klissurski: Well, definitely at the end of my freshman fall. Yeah, I just felt a little bit estranged from some people on my floor, and—yeah, perhaps not that I didn’t fit but that I didn’t belong.
In terms of not fitting in, I was a little bit anxious coming in, just—I was wondering how people would react to my accent and how that might turn out in terms of friends and girls or just socially, but I think I was a little bit self-conscious about it the first couple terms, maybe the entire freshman year, but for the most part, people were very nice, and it was really never a big deal. And I don’t think, like, people shied away from me or anything because of my accent.
I think—yeah, maybe freshman year or even the beginning of sophomore year, I had a couple of instances when, like, I would be talking to girls in louder spaces, and, like, they couldn’t understand what I was saying, and they would, like, kind of like, “Uh...” and go somewhere else, and I was, like, Ugh! Great, you know. But that went away, I think.
And honestly—again, it’s one of those things where I have learned to live with it. I think it’s totally fine. I know that people recognize it right away and hear it, but when I don’t
feel self-conscious about it and I still feel confident in the way I speak and the ideas I express, I think that that makes people comfortable and willing to engage with me.
I think it’s a neat little experiment because—you know, that’s very benign. You have an accent. That’s kind of like one of my differences and one of the ways in which I’m different. But I think I still manage to, for the most part, be confident and appear confident, and people all of a sudden don’t care about my accent.
I think people who are different in other ways—racially or backgrounds, socioeconomically, whatever it may be—sometimes—and I know it’s hard, and I have no idea what they’re going through, but sometimes they feel self-conscious about it. And of course. Maybe it’s natural. I mean, they’re having hard times. They have grown up in very difficult ways, and coming to this seemingly perfect environment, they might feel intimidated. But I do believe that if you believe in yourself and you’re confident regardless of your backgrounds and maybe things that socially are accepted as different and whatever, you can thrive here.

Dartmouth Community and Dartmouth’s World is an ongoing oral history project that launched in 2012. The project’s goal is to document the changing nature of the Dartmouth community in the second half of the twentieth century with an emphasis on the concept of the insider and outsider and how those roles and perceptions change for various constituencies over time. Narrators will include members of the Dartmouth community from 1945 to the present, representing a broad spectrum of voices and perspectives.

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