We are all in the same boat of a tumultuous sea. Going off into a world that hits us left and right with crazy expectations, facing the pressures of education, all while exploring ourselves and trying to find out who we are as young adults can be really difficult.
Often, we feel like we aren't enough for this world. Whether that be with physical appearances, academic success, popularity, or even with finding people that we truly connect with, we are faced with the thought of never being enough and being alone. Sometimes college, despite all of its freedom and excitement, can be really disheartening because these negative feeling become amplified without your support system from home.
I have gone through times in college where I felt lost and unsure about what I was doing with my life. It felt like I was driving down a dark road at full speed, only seeing a few feet in front of me at a time. But recently I was reminded that I am not alone on this journey of self-discovery and that you can find that system of support if you are willing.
I was lucky enough to have one of my closest friends come to GCU with me, something I sometimes took for granted. But even with having my best friend with me, I was often faced with that horrible feeling of loneliness.
One of the best experiences I've had in coming to college is being able to meet new people, and being able to plug in and connect with organizations and clubs across the campus that tap into my interests (something I was admittedly reluctant to do). The first time I branched out at GCU came after University Club Rush. One of these clubs and the first one I got involved with was the "Friends of the Pen" Club. This group was specifically geared towards people who love storytelling and books, and it's probably evident by now those two things happen to be passions of mine. In our first week, the group decided to go to a used bookstore in Phoenix, a "book run" they called it. Although this sounds like a minor event, it is one of my favorite memories from Freshman year. We all piled into a car, music playing softly in the background as we talked about how being away from home was so exciting yet hard at the same time.
I had so much fun that night with those people. It was the first time since going to college that I realized that I wasn't the only one struggling to find myself.
Soon after that, I happened to meet and talk with my best friend's roommate. On the night that we met, we both went outside after our mutual friend (my best friend) went to bed, and we discussed where we came from. It was a light talk, but we clicked really well.
We often spent our nights after that on the enormous lawns in front of our dorms, just the two of us talking about our interests and our similar struggles of being away from home. We all began to go to events together -- specifically GCU's theatre productions and University dances. We ate lunches together in between classes and helped each other with homework…well, more like she helped me painstakingly through math.
Before I knew it, I had found myself another best friend here in college and had a relationship that I continue to cherish every day. My point from this story is to show you how one step towards reaching out to someone can blossom into a beautiful friendship. One interaction can lead to a lunch, one lunch can lead to going to an event together, and in the course of that domino effect you can find one more shoulder to lean on and someone to call a friend.
In those times of loneliness, it's important to go out and find a community. I know, it's hard. Sometimes when we are feeling lonely all we want to do is curl up in our room by ourselves and be sad in the comfort of our own company. But speaking from firsthand experience, this will not help. You must find those people in college that will be there for you when heartbreak hits when midterms have you sleep deprived, and when you are just unsure about the future.
My mom often got on my case about finding community at college, and I got annoyed by the constant pushing to plug in. But thinking back on my first year, I see that opening up to people and joining groups helped me more than anything else.
So now, I urge you to go do the same thing my mom told me: find those things that make you passionate and plugin. Find your future best friends. They are out there waiting for you too, I promise.