As high school comes to an end, and even before that, students are looking forward to their transition to college. For me, going to a small school all my life made me even more ecstatic to come to the University of Illinois.
When the time came to come to Illinois and classes started, I realized I wasn’t in a school that only had 500 students enrolled; I was at a school of over 40,000 students. I didn’t know how to find my place, my people, or my calling. If you’re feeling a little out of place, it is completely normal. I’m sure if you’ve expressed your feelings to someone, you’ve probably heard the good old “get out of your comfort zone” talk. This is completely valid. Getting out of our own comfort zones to reach out to a few people we sit next to in class can really spark a conversation and maybe even a friendship.
The thing is though, you have to remember what you truly enjoy when trying to find your place. Too many people change their personalities to make friends, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. Don’t try to watch sports if you don’t like them; become friends with people who enjoy similar interests. Once I did this, I felt a lot better. I came to the realization that there are plenty of people who are just like me, and I do not have to try to fit in with a crowd that I truly have nothing in common with.
Don’t just go by what you want to be like. In college, there is a place for every type of person; you don’t have to try to fit in anymore. The most natural and genuine friendships come when you act natural and genuine. So get to know yourself, become comfortable with it, and embrace yourself.