Fitting In Is Hard

22 Jan

As an introvert, it has always been a struggle for me to push myself outside my comfort zone and connect with others. By the time I was a high school senior, getting involved was no problem. I had walked down the same halls for 4 years and it was clear where I fit. Coming to college was like facing high school all over again, only the stakes were much higher. I was scared, confused, and alone.

Being the over-thinker that I am, I saw how difficult it would be to make friends and get involved so I joined a leadership club to help get started. The Blue Chip Leadership Program became my jumping off point. I lived in the learning community my first year and met lots of nice, intelligent, kind individuals. Blue Chip was great for my first year because it taught me a lot about myself and how I work best. My sophomore year in the program proved to be more difficult. Living off campus led me to feel less connected to campus and my friends.  It soon became clear that although I had learned so much from Blue Chip, and I enjoyed myself, it was no longer the right fit for me.

Junior year was my year. Blue Chip had given me enough experience and confidence to try something new-getting a job. I applied to be an ASA Peer Mentor in the Spring of my Sophomore year, and began my position in the fall of my junior year. Working for ASA was one of the best things that happened to me while here at the U of A. It pushed me to be creative and challenge myself to be better. It allowed to move on from my past mistakes by helping first year students navigate their way through college, and it became my home away from home. It took me 2 full years in college to finally find where I not only fit in, but flourish.

Looking beyond your comfort zone and finding your own path can be extremely difficult. It is okay to be lost and afraid, but it is not okay to give up. Try new things and make changes along the way. I knew Blue Chip wasn’t where I fit in best, but I took every opportunity to learn from my experiences there. I know myself as well as I do now because of Blue Chip. So remember to always keep fighting, because one day you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Erika

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