For as long as I can remember, I have had a sense of displacement between my surroundings and myself. I clung to the idea that someday I would find my own niche.

If you feel "different" compared to the various people around you, are too liberal for your conservative town, or wish to see the population treat each other as fellow human beings regardless of differences, remain hopeful.

Freshman year of college has merely begun, yet I know I am exactly where life intended for me to be at this point in time. For the first time in my life, I am surrounded by diversity. As a student population, we have backgrounds that vary from races, religions, identities, etc. Unlike my younger years spent in a predominantly white, conservative town, if a male walks into class wearing makeup, it's not questionable. How we dress, how we identify ourselves, who we share relationships with, or what God we pray to is no longer taboo. Indeed, among us there are yet people who withhold judgement, but if someone witnesses an unjust act they will intervene.

Going to Club Fair was definitely a highlight to the beginning of the year. There are clubs ranging in areas such as cultural heritage groups, Chemistry club, National Organization for Women, Disability Rights Council, Difference Makers, and more. Each and every individual truly maintains a sense of belonging.

The concept of awareness is valued by the college, as they have invited speakers and hosted events to promote awareness on topics that pertain to college life. I am thankful that through these motivational presentations and informational meetings, anyone who was uninformed on the given topics benefited from being present. There is so much comfort in knowing that the college promotes consent, safe sex, healthy relationships, maintaining a stable mental health throughout college, anxiety coping mechanisms, and more.

The transition from high school to college allows students and their professors to be on a much more realistic level. When a topic is serious, sometimes swearing gets the point across better. It's no longer controversial to talk about actions that we all know a decent amount of the student population partakes in. If anything, TALK. We cannot prevent students from going out and drinking, but we can promote ways to remain safe when around alcohol.

I enjoy that I can sit through a class and not feel as if a professor is trying to feed me their own opinions. Rather my professors discuss each subject neutrally, pointing out views from each opposing side, allowing us as students to decide what it is we believe.

Being in an environment full of acceptance, awareness, education, and opportunities is refreshing to say the least.