Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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I'm About To Burst, Laughing At The People Who Thought My Pregnancy Meant I Had To Drop Out Of College

I get stared at in the halls and asked if I am going to drop out. Here are ways being a pregnant student has changed my college experience.

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I have been pregnant the entire time that I have been in graduate school. It was not how I planned to experience grad school, but it has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective and will give me a lovely son (seriously, any second now). There are certain things that I did not realize about being a pregnant student until I experienced it, and maybe my experiences can help better prepare other women, or give them something to relate to since pregnant students are such a rare breed.

As a grad student and a 25-year-old, I am around the average age to have my first child in America. I am not dependent on my parents and the world does not treat me like a child anymore.

However, since I decided to pursue my master's degree, I feel that people are not used to seeing pregnant and student in the same sentence without gasping.

When I first told my father, his first reaction was to ask me if I was to going to drop out.

This became a recurrent reaction from my family and friends (which my boyfriend who is also a student was never asked once). I did not expect the hesitant reactions and it made me feel shameful to be a pregnant student. As my expecting belly grew I always noticed that people on campus would stare at my stomach.

As I walked past, their eyes followed my belly like I had a giant red felt "A" on my chest.

None of my classmates are pregnant and thinking back, I can't remember ever seeing a pregnant woman in all of my five years of college. Since none of my classmates were pregnant, I felt like I had no one to relate to. There are a lot of things that pregnancy effects, besides the baby in the tummy part. I could not go out and get drinks with my classmates and bond with them the way that they were all doing. I could not relate to them fashionably because maternity clothes are heinous. I also feel like pregnancy put up a barrier because I would have a baby eventually and will always be busy, so why bother?

Pregnancy side effects would sometimes take a toll on my school work. In the first trimester, I could barely get out of bed because I was so tired. I could easily have slept 14 hours straight and being a working student did not help. I would seep through some of my classes and had to take the hit to my attendance points. I also have "pregnancy brain." Pregnancy brain is a real thing and is not well known enough. My mind can be so scattered that I forget my friend's names while I am speaking to them. I think it is October when it is March. Pregnancy brain has made me forget that I even go to school or that I work in twenty minutes. I missed due dates or completely misread instructions on assignments. For someone who needs A's on every assignment to function, it hurt because I would never make that mistake otherwise.

There are also benefits to being a pregnant student. I am never hungover and I have never been tempted to ditch a night class for a drinking holiday.

Pregnancy has allowed me to prioritize my school work and ignore the college lifestyle.

Before I knew I was pregnant, I went with my roommates to bars in Chicago's Lincoln Park. I feel so happy knowing getting wasted from $3 shots on a Wednesday is behind me. I now truly have nothing better to do at night than complete my homework.

Another benefit is that you sometimes get special treatment. The special treatment that pregnant women get is awesome. It is my favorite part and sometimes makes me wish I could be pregnant forever. People feel obligated to wait on me hand and foot. If I drop something, people rush to pick it up. It is completely not necessary but I get to feel like a princess for a day (or 280 days). Even though I was singled out for being the only pregnant woman, I was always treated especially nicely by students and professors.

Regardless of my friends and family expecting me to drop out, I am doing phenomenal in grad school. I have received A's in every class and have loved all of my classes. Being a pregnant student can be tough, but it is totally doable. If you find yourself to be a pregnant student, don't feel discouraged. It is not ruining your college experience but allowing you to do college differently.

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