I want to talk a little bit about fitting in because I feel like it’s something we all struggle with at some point in our lives. I feel like readers get something out of it and I get something out of it as a writer too because it allows me to get my own feelings out and rant for a while. I don’t know about you, but writing things down in rant form almost always makes me feel better.
I was in my senior year of high school when the pandemic officially started, when things started closing down. Having said that, my freshmen year of college doesn’t even feel like it happened because I was at home taking online classes away from campus for the entire year. That’s why when I think about sophomore year ending now, I don’t believe I’m going to be a junior. It doesn’t feel right.
I think the pandemic stirred up this side of me that wants to now be social and meet a hundred different good friends, but it’s been tough. Not only because of the pandemic, but also because of college in general. I walked in thinking it’d be super easy to find the right friend group for me, but here I am in like five different friend groups and feeling like none of them are really my niche.
I think I went a little hard, and I’m sure many other people can relate. After COVID settled down a little bit, I went crazy trying to meet new people. After so much isolation, I desperately wanted to socialize and go out and do things. Now, I’m no extrovert. I’m more of an ambivert that leans introvert, but still it doesn’t matter if you’re super talkative or not, I feel like everyone simply from being human has this part of them that longs for lasting friendships and relationships and has a need to feel loved and be listened to. That’s where I’m at.
So my sophomore year I joined nine clubs. I’m not kidding, I joined nine! Obviously meetings had conflicts so I had to choose which one I wanted to go to. I thought I’d meet people like my best friend, but it hasn’t happened. I go to a huge school, but I feel like it makes it harder. People came in knowing people. I kept trying to initiate plans with people and they would only want to stick with their friends they already have. I had a weird roommate situation where they only hung out with their high school friends and didn’t seem to want me in the picture. So I struggled a lot, and I’m still struggling. I’m sure a lot of people are right now.
If you’re feeling like it’s you, like there’s something wrong with you, let me let you in on a little lesson I’m still trying to get through my own thick skull, which is that there is nothing wrong with you. First off, the quality of friends is way better than the quantity. I can say I have a few really good friends and some potential good ones. But relationships take time! And I’m not a patient person . . . so yeah. Everyone is different.
For me, the main reason why I don’t seem to fit in a lot of groups is because I’m on a college campus and most people are here to party. I like partying with small groups of friends every once in a while, but I’m not into smoking or anything like that. While hookups and parties are fun for others and I have nothing against them, they simply aren’t for me. It seems like I’m the only one who doesn’t like them, and so I feel a little out of place. I have found some great people, I have. And I encourage you to feel grateful for the people you do have, just don’t let yourself stray away from opportunities to meet other people that may fulfill you in ways your other friends don’t.
I still get together with my high school friend group every once in a while. We get food and catch up and it’s super nice. A few of them go to the same college as me. Go green! I also am in another friend group that started after I met a really good friend in my English class. I love them all and everything, and we even went to Florida for Spring Break. I also joined Cru on campus, which is a Christian organization that I would highly recommend. Everyone is so kind there, but I joined late and everyone already knows each other and I feel out of the loop. I met great acquaintances in a lot of my other clubs, but they didn’t want to go further than that. I also am a volunteer at the Listening Ear (a crisis line) where I’ve met great people, but we’re only just now able to organize in-person meetings. I have a best friend at home. I have people.
It’s like a romantic relationship: you know when you know. I haven’t had that feeling yet. I see all the groups I’m in and I feel like the odd one out. In Cru, I feel like I’m not religious enough, in my little college friend group I feel weird because I’m the only one who doesn’t smoke, in my high school friend group, there’s a greater distance so I feel the farthest away, etc. As a result, I’ve told myself it’s because I’m not good enough.
One of my friends recently got this amazing boyfriend, and again, I feel left out because no one has ever picked me or chosen to love me. It makes me feel like the issue is me. Maybe I’m too shy or a buzzkill. I also am super into writing and I haven’t found anyone who thinks that’s cool other than other writers I may meet online or elsewhere. It’s like that feeling when you’re at a social gathering and everyone’s laughing but you’re fake laughing and you aren’t happy even though you should be, which coincidentallyhappened to me literally last night.
I’m talking about this so that others hopefully don’t feel like they’re alone. I was wrong in thinking I’m deservingly invisible. I love the part of me that likes to write, I love that I cry in sad movies, and I love that I’d rather be reading a book than grinding on strangers at a frat house. And if I come across people who don’t like that, who don’t like me, I can’t change their minds; I just have to accept it’s their loss and move on. The right people will be attracted to me by the parts of me that I like.
It takes patience. Patience is the one thing I’m striving for right now. It’s a goal of mine. I’ve been trying to make connections, so it’s not out of lack of effort; I’ve even made some good ones. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
So if you feel like you’re going all over the place and feeling like you don’t fit in anywhere, it’s not just you. It’s a lot of people. These are the kind of things our society doesn’t openly talk about. Our society is very pro-extroversion and pro-partying. It is designed to make people feel like happiness is having a lot of friends and everything that comes with that.
Be yourself and that’s honestly all you can do. Because let me tell you, it’s way worse to pretend to be someone else and then have friends who love you for someone who isn’t you.
Hang on there. If you feel different, you probably have good differences. Society revolves around its standards and comparisons, and if you’re different, that means you’re staying true to yourself and not conforming to the standards as much as other people.
Life is so long, especially if you’re young. There’s plenty of time for that one awesome friend to surprise you.
I need this message just as much as anyone else, if not more right now.
And me writing this is proof I should be myself. Writing helps me get through things like this. A relationship doesn’t only have to be people either. People can leave, but writing is the one constant I’ll always have in my life.
What’s your constant?