What It’s Like, Feeling Out Of Place In College

College can really be something else. Imagine, it’s been months, and you still bump around the campus like it’s an intricate labyrinth. There are people you talk to from time to time, but not nearly enough to classify them as anything more than a mere acquaintance. College can be that way. Time seems to slow down as soon as your heel grazes the carpet fiber of your classrooms. Somehow it stretches with each glance at the wall clock. You wear your anxiety more than you wear that expensive bracelet your parents got you for your last birthday.

The frayed piece of the many layers of faux contentment fail to get snagged on your bedroom door handle and unravel. As you lay in bed wrapped in your own façade, as if the ceiling had an epiphany decorating its blank canvas, you come to the realization that this guise is more for your own comfort as opposed to your peers. It’s what you’ve been using to entertain your reflection as you drown in the corner. You are the glaring off key notes in a song, the shade that doesn’t match, the only crooked tile, you clearly don’t belong here.

Who says? Were they an authoritative figure? Maybe someone you hold in high regard? Or was it internalized toxicity poisoning your college experience? Let the truth be the only bearer of the fruits you choose to consume, college isn’t easy, it’s not always fun, but that’ll never have jurisdiction over who does or doesn’t belong. 

I unwittingly stepped into these shoes the day I came to campus. No amount of routine or oversaturation could dissolve the knots locking my feet into those shoes. I naively thought if I continued with a smile, I’d eventually grow accustomed to college life. What ultimately propelled me to a healthier state of mind was understanding I wasn’t the only one steeped in troubled waters. I’d been averting my gaze from my surroundings in favor of my rose-colored imagination, in fear of seeing people thriving in the environment I’d felt so alienated from. Once I finally discovered the courage to inspect those around me, I came to find I wasn’t alone. This hadn’t been an easy experience for anyone.

People of different backgrounds, motivations, and majors sang songs of the same tune. With this information I was able to reach a better conclusion. I wasn’t a failure. It was ok for me to have these emotions. I wiped away my smile and stripped myself of the layers I’d been hiding under. I finally found a means to being unbothered by where I was psychologically and emotionally as it pertained to college. Now that I acknowledged how deep the whole was, I could effectively work on getting out of it. I’m currently continuing my self excavation, but I’m much closer to freedom than I was before. 

It’s completely understandable to feel like you don’t belong in college. It’s a foreign environment that offers no map to guide you. We’re all trying to find our way and we’re all going to get a little lost. I found my footing by following the path of acceptance to work towards overcoming my situation. Have you experienced this internal battle? If so, how’d you or how are you currently dealing with this issue?

Zada Luby is a first-year student at Gwinnett Technical college, she’s a nursing major who loves art, nature, and helping her community grow. Follow her interests and more here.

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