College is full of anxiety causing events—from making friends with strangers, exams every week, tough subjects and teachers, peer pressure to “fit in”… The list goes on and on. It may seem like everyone else is doing just fine, while you’re drowning in a sea of schoolwork, anxiety, loneliness, or homesickness.
From my own personal experience, making friends was easy. The pod system here at Saint Vincent is an amazing way to meet other freshman and to create a family environment. However, deepening those friendships and learning how to manage them is a different battle. I started to put people in boxes and only let myself act a certain kind of way with each different “type” of friend. I wasn’t being true to myself. I was afraid of being judged, of losing friends, and of being made fun of. Being accepted by your peers is one of the biggest struggles of transitioning into college.
What I have learned through the past year is that no matter what, being true and honest with yourself is the most important decision you can make. You must learn to love who you are and accept yourself before you can see how others love and accept you. I spent too much time trying to “fit in” with everyone, even though I wasn’t happy!
Don’t worry if the way you act, talk, dress, think, or walk isn’t the same as everyone else. Beauty and love come in all different shapes and sizes. No one is truly the same. Fitting in might sound and feel good for a little while, but learning how to love yourself is the most important lesson you can learn in college. Casting off the worry of being judged is the most freeing feeling in the world. By doing so, you discover who your true friends are. If someone doesn’t accept you and respect you for who you are, then they are not a friend. True friends will love each other for who they are. True friends build each other up. True friends will be honest with each other. And true friends will teach you how to love yourself and others more deeply.