The Importance of Being Able to #FindYourGirlGang

Let's be real, the transition to college can kind of suck. As a commuter student, I’ve spent much of my first semester at Mason feeling isolated from my peers and more alone than I’ve ever felt before. Leaving behind my support system and venturing into college has been by far a more difficult experience than I anticipated. However, even after a few months of sitting by myself in the JC and a messy breakup of a long-term relationship, I feel more fulfilled and empowered than ever before.

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The decision to apply to -- and later join -- the staff of Her Campus George Mason wasn’t made thinking that it would provide a lifeboat in the middle of a challenging transition, but it’s given me a sense of belonging to something greater than myself and a true sense of connection that I hadn’t known I would need so desperately. As somewhat of an introvert, it’s always been difficult for me to be the first person to reach out and start a conversation or pursue a connection with someone, starting over and trying to find my place at Mason was a bit of a rocky road. It’s difficult to walk into a room of hundreds of people and not see a single familiar face but still force yourself just far enough out of your shell to start a conversation with the person sitting next to you, especially when everyone around you already has made connections with each other because they live together on campus. It took much less time than I thought to make sitting and laughing with people in class feel weirdly foreign.

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Related: Confessions of a College Commuter

 

Regardless of how many commuters there are at Mason, -- around 75% of the student body lives off-campus -- it can be hard to adjust to living a different life as a college freshman than the one that Mason is trying to sell to us. Frankly, it’s just difficult to resign yourself to the fact that you’re always going to live a little bit differently than your peers.

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However, things get better. Without fail, there’s going to be at least one person around you that’s in the exact same position, and now some of my closest friends are fellow off-campus students who were just plain tired of sitting alone. Before those relationships were able to take shape, the group of women I met at Her Campus provided not just dog gifs and funny tweets, but also a group of highly motivated and active women that are willing to hype you up before they even know you. There’s nothing better than changing the world with your favorite group of women, one word at a time.

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Related: How Joining Her Campus Helped Me #FindMyGirlGang

Although I found my girl gang here at Her Campus George Mason (Have I mentioned that you can too? Our new writer application has just reopened, and we couldn’t be more excited to meet even more boss Patriots!), there’s no right or wrong way to find your place in a new environment. Whether you run home to a sorority full of new sisters, join one of the hundreds of RSOs on campus or even just bond with people across your dorm, classes, and everywhere in between, what’s important is finding that group of people that will have your back and lift you up. None of us have time for fake friends, relationships that have long since run their course, or sitting around and waiting for that close-knit and supportive group that we’re picturing. Sign up for formal or informal recruitment, fill out that application, invite people in your hall to go get dinner and talk to the person sitting next to you in your 9 a.m. class. Take control of your own experience, college isn’t going to last forever and we *definitely* do not have time for regrets.