Belonging at Furman: How Do I Find My People?

This week is homecoming week here at Furman and in honor of the big event, I am kicking off this week’s posts with a discussion about belonging.

Belonging is something we all crave. We want to feel like we’re apart of a community, contributing to a greater goal, and appreciated for what we do. Everyone says college is where you find yourself, where you experiment, where you learn to fail and pick yourself back up. You see in movies, tv shows, and stories from adults. High school did not necessarily provide that for me. I felt out of place and like an outsider at times, so for me it was something I couldn’t wait to experience in college.

So now the question is: how do we get from point A to point B? How do we get from being brand new freshmen to being students who are involved, have leadership roles, and feel like we belong here?

Spoiler alert: There’s no right answer.

So many people find their homes on campus and find that sense of belonging in so many different ways. What do I recommend? Here’s 3 pieces of advice for how to find your place on campus:

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure!
    • I get it, failure can be scary. Being denied or rejected can be a hit to our egos. It happens! We’re human! One of my biggest take aways from my almost three years at Furman is that failure is necessary. If you apply for an organization and don’t get in, I promise you 1000% it is not the end of the world. Sometimes we just aren’t a good fit and that’

      Friends I’ve met through organizations!

      s okay. I think of it as a “when one door closes, another one opens” type of situation. That means that there is still a chance for you to find the right fit in another organization.

  2. Take advantage of common hour!
    • Is the girl sitting next to you in math class super nice? She could turn out to be your best friend! When I say take advantage of common hour, I mean plan as many lunch dates as possible! It can be intimidating getting to know someone brand new. Asking them to hang out can mean a trillion things and sometimes we just aren’t ready for such a huge commitment. Lunch is a quick and risk-free opportunity to get to know someone! It doesn’t even have to be lunch. Maybe plan to go on a lake walk or grab some coffee! My point is that common hour is a quick 60ish minutes that students have open, which means that if you happen to not be clicking with someone, it’s okay! It’s only an hour! Or if you don’t want to overcommit yourself to hanging out for a long period of time, it’s okay!
  3. Ask questions!
    • Whether it be for organizations or potential new friends, ask questions! People love talking about themselves and sharing their stories. It’s a great way to see what things you may have in common or connect on. As for organizations, if you wanna know more about what they do or what a day in the life of a member looks like, it never hurts to ask. Asking questions shows that you are interested and invested in what people are saying! Keep asking questions, keep being curious.

I’ve met my best friends through random moments, like meeting up with their friend for a CLP, or helping them find a book at the library. You never really know when you are going to meet someone who will be an influential person in your life. It’s crucial to always have an open mind and take advantage of opportunities that pop up.

My best friend and I — who really did meet through a mutual friend at a CLP during our freshman year.

As for organizations, I’ve found my way to some organizations that are near and dear to my heart through trial and error. By applying and getting rejected or by applying and finding out I don’t enjoy it as much I thought I would. It may take longer for some than it does for others. There’s no linear path or right or wrong answer. Everyone’s journey is unique, but craving the feeling of belonging is what we 100% all have in common.

Best,

Angel:)

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