Don’t forget where you belong

Don’t forget where you belong

By: Francesca Gugino

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.

Choosing the right college is so difficult because for many it is the first independent decision that we get to make: where are we spending the next four years of our life and what will we do? It can make for a stressful senior year of high school and a draining decision making process. This is because it’s not just choosing a program or career path, it’s about finding a new fit and being able to call it home.

I started at NU during fall 2016, not knowing how tough freshman year would turn out to be. People say it all the time: “It’s a period of transitioning from everything that was once so comfortable and simple to the new, different, and overwhelming- perhaps even scary”. But there is also the adage that “college is where you finally find yourself”. As a first year student, it’s impossible to know what to expect. We come from different backgrounds and hometowns and socializations, so how are we supposed to form one community, rather how are we supposed to find our role the mix?

Over 33% of US students transfer at least once during their undergraduate experience. Some for financial reasons, sports, being closer to home and for many “It just wasn’t my fit”. But what does it mean to fit in? Especially when we were created to stand out. Undergraduate students struggle with this “identity crisis”, often believing that the only option is to move on and start over somewhere new when things aren’t going as seamlessly as one hoped.

As an overwhelmed and lost freshman, I opted to transfer to Canisius after my freshman year. But these feelings of detachment, confusion and isolation that many undergraduates experience aren’t resolved by stepping foot onto a new campus, in fact they can even be amplified. Transferring is hard. Really hard. Everyone already has their friend groups established, their relationships with their advisors and professors made, and their plans in full swing. Don’t get me wrong, I was active in all aspects of the social scene, but it didn’t feel right. And it wasn’t right. It wasn’t NU, and because of that I didn’t feel at home.

After a semester of trying to “fit in”, I realized that I was missing all of the amazing opportunities and things that I fell in love with at Niagara. The reasons why I chose it initially: the campus, the atmosphere, the opportunities, the professors, the honors program, and so on. I had focused so much on the negative during my time at Niagara that I had forgotten the true reasons as to why I love it. Every college has its downfalls and there will always be something to complain about, but here, at NU, there is so much more to be proud of than to wish was different. So stop for a second, think about what brought you here, what you love, who you love, and what Niagara has done for you and continues to do for you. The opportunities are endless and the education and connections to the professional world are outstanding. Transferring isn’t what you need because “very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene” -Arthur Christopher Benson.

Featured Image: Niagara.edu

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