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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

The date was Jan. 25, 2022. I was wearing floral leggings and my brand-new Doc Martens—and I was hiding in the Xavier Hall bathroom.

It was the night of my audition for Six Eight Christian A Cappella, and to say I was terrified would be an understatement. At the time, I probably couldn’t have told you why. After all, it was hardly the first audition I’d ever done; this wasn’t anything new to me.

Looking back, I can see it all so clearly. It was the start of my second semester at SLU, and so far, college had been nothing like I expected. From friend drama to dining hall food poisoning to a major that I hated, it seemed like I had faced every problem imaginable in four short months. At the end of first semester, I had even considered transferring—but I was never one to give up. I resolved to give SLU one more chance, doubting that anything would change but hoping, nonetheless.

There I was: about to audition for a college A Cappella group, of all things. When I picture myself on that day, I can’t help but wonder if some part of me knew that my life was about to change.

Three days after my Six Eight audition, I was accepted into the group with open arms and a voicemail I have listened to countless times since: all 12 members screaming, “Welcome to Six Eight!” But just because I was a member of the group, it didn’t mean my fears were gone. In fact, the prospect of spending multiple hours a week with a group of strangers, who were already closer than close, only made me all the more nervous. But from the beginning, the members of Six Eight were relentless in their attempts to make me feel at home, from inviting me to dinner before rehearsals to constantly making conversation with me—even when I only replied in one-word sentences. It is often said that Six Eight is a family, and even in the early days, it was easy to see why.

It didn’t happen overnight, but in time, I came to realize I had nothing to be afraid of. On my first Six Eight retreat, there was a moment: we were all sitting around the fire, laughing together and talking about everything and nothing. I felt a peace settle over me unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and I knew in my heart that I had found my place.

Nearly two and a half years have passed since then, and I have watched myself grow immensely in Six Eight. I have been given opportunities to arrange music, to help choreograph our competition set, to sing solos and to serve on our group’s Executive Board—all things that freshman year me never could have imagined. Meanwhile, the members of Six Eight have encouraged me, advocated for me and believed in me—and somewhere along the way, they’ve taught me to believe in myself, too.

Above all else, being in Six Eight has taught me what it means to love and be loved unconditionally. The friends I’ve made in this group have been with me in the good moments, from singing in the stairwell to heart-to-hearts at Pickleman’s to more group hugs than I ever thought possible. But they have also been there in the bad ones: calming me down during anxiety attacks, going on long walks when I’m sad and constantly showing that no matter what happens, they will always be there for me. I often struggle with feeling like a burden, and I worry that people won’t accept me for who I really am. But Six Eight has shown me that true friends can and will. Six Eight has shown me that even when the world feels like it’s ending, true friends just want to love you—and for you to love them right back.

I know that my story is uniquely mine, and that most people won’t find themselves in a silly little college A Cappella group. But I also know that everyone has experienced the feeling of being lost and struggling to find a way in a world that’s nothing like you expected. When you don’t know what’s coming, it’s so difficult to put yourself out there, to realize that things could end badly but to try again anyway. But to whoever is reading this, I encourage you to do just that. Quit hiding in the Xavier Hall bathroom, wherever that may be for you. Who knows—everything you ever wanted could be just around the corner. 

Hi! I'm a junior at SLU studying math and Spanish. I love running at golden hour, watching romantic comedies, and making excessive amounts of playlists.