Meet the human behind Humans of UBC Psych

Photo of Jenn Lin by Lia Kendall

A natural curiosity about people led Jenn Lin to study psychology—and create ‘Humans of UBC Psych’.

Humans are a social species; our drive to connect is embedded in us. Social connection helps us understand human behaviour. It gives us a sense of belonging. This type of connection is what led Jenn Lin to create Humans of UBC Psych, a digital storytelling project inspired by Humans of New York (HONY).

As a psychology undergraduate student, Lin craved a deeper connection within the psychology community. This led her to join the Psychology Students’ Association. Although she attended events and volunteered as an event photographer, Lin still felt something was missing. She didn’t feel that connection she longed for, and she noticed other students weren’t engaged. So, Lin did something different. She turned her lens on the people in the psychology community.

What began as a photo project has since transformed into a storytelling project. “The stories behind the photos are really what Humans of UBC Psych is about,” says Lin, who is also a professional photographer. “The photography helps frame each person’s story. The stories help us empathize with each other.”

Some of the humans of UBC Psychology

Keeping it real

Authentic, heart-warming and funny, Human of UBC Psych documents the people in the psychology community. The stories shared are personal; offering a rare glimpse into people’s minds and motivations. The people featured are putting their interests, relationships, inspirations, and struggles out in the open. This openness stems from simple conversations with Lin. She lets her gut feelings guide the interviews and she lets people tell their own stories.

Humans of UBC Psych gives people a chance to share their feelings and thoughts—and to show how we’re all similar,” says Lin. “When I look at the stories as a whole, there is something I can relate to in each story. If I feel this way, maybe others will feel this way too.”

Creating Community

Through her own life experiences and the psychology courses she has taken, Lin has learned that all humans have a desire to connect. “Having or being part of a community is a support system and a safety net,” says Lin. “Psychology research shows that relationships are important to your overall mental—and physical—wellbeing.”

Lin’s aim to build community is working; Humans of UBC Psych is creating social connections. “This project is a way for myself and others to share, hear stories, learn faces, and kick-start conversations with one another,” says Lin. “People want to connect and share their stories. Interactions happen in real time. Each like, comment, share, and show of support, is community.”

Follow Humans of UBC Psych on Facebook and Instagram.

Are you interested in being a part of Humans of UBC Psych? Contact Jenn Lin.