I’ve always been sort of an odd kid. While I had a couple of solid friend groups in elementary school, I was always the one that stuck out for one reason or another. The transition to middle school coupled with the awkwardness of preteen years only made the weirdness more prevalent, and I found myself with less friends. High school was better because I found my niche in the theater department, but even there, I couldn’t shake that feeling of being an outsider.
After graduating from high school, I so looked forward to college. One of my best friends and mentors had told me about how that feeling was finally going to go away. I would find my place in college. Whether I found a club or met some people in my major that I clicked with, I wasn’t going to feel like an outsider anymore.
Yet here I am, three years later, still feeling like I live on the outside. I never really found my group. Trust me, I tried to force myself into some, but nothing ever really came naturally.
Now I’ve grown and changed in these past three years. I laugh when I think about who I was one, two, especially three years ago. Even the person I was four months ago is drastically different from who I am today. The craziest thing is, the person who I am today is growing more and more comfortable with not really fitting in.
Yes, I’ve made friends in college. I’ve met people that I truly hope I stay in touch with for the rest of my life. But when it comes to people that I truly feel accepted by, I could count those people on one hand. I’m learning to be okay with that.
I struggled a great deal with the fact that I don’t get invited to go out on the weekends for a long time. I spent most of last year letting that eat me alive. When I took my internship at Hoosier Park, I was excited about the fact I would have to work on Fridays and Saturdays because it would give me something to do.
I’m learning that I don’t need to be the person that immediately lights up a room when I walk in. I’m learning to accept the fact that there are people that just don’t like me. As I’m starting my final semester of college, I’m learning it might be a good thing that I stand out. Sure, I might be an acquired taste, but what if I find a place full of people like me?
It’s okay to be your own person. Sometimes you’ll feel alone, but it will make the people that truly appreciate you that much more special. It will help you stand out from the crowd. It will help you shine as your truest self.
Take it from me. I might still be learning, but it feels really nice to not care what people think.