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Feeling Like an Outsider | #WeBelongInCollege Stories

Last updated October 18, 2020

College is a whole new environment, a whole new community, and a whole lot of new people. It takes time for everyone to adjust to this new environment, but it is especially hard when you feel like an outsider. Listen to these students' stories and learn how they managed to eventually feel like they belonged. 

Nicole’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

It’s no surprise that Nicole questioned if she belonged in college - she was 14 years old when she started! It was daunting being surrounded by adults. She was crushed when her first friend said she no longer wanted to study together after learning Nicole’s age. Nevertheless, Nicole persisted. 

Karoline’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Karoline hoped to escape the bullying she experienced in high school when she went to college. The harassment continued and she began questioning whether she was welcome in her new college community. Listen to how Karoline learned to cope with this and continue her education.

Vania’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Vania had to work full-time all through college. It felt as if everyone else was able to focus on being a student while she had to struggle to find time and energy for her studies. This challenge made her question if she belonged.           

Abdullah’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Abdullah has always felt like an outsider due to his stutter. People at school would make fun of him relentlessly. He started to feel that college might not be for him. But with encouragement from his family, he realized that he belongs in college and now he’s working to inspire other students with disabilities that they belong there too! 

Daniela’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

I am a first generation high school graduate and college student. My family had never experienced a member leaving our area to go to college far away, and they did not understand the necessity of moving for better opportunities. I battled with not exactly being able to identify with the life of a typical college student. I always felt different during my experience as an undergraduate. Although there were other students like me, I often wondered if they struggled with lack of support and financial resources like I did. I distinctly remember being in my first semester of freshman year of college, and everyone in my dorm apartment got a care package from their parents during finals week – except for me. My parents didn’t know what finals were or what a care package was, and their priority was survival and not my comfort in college. These kinds of small instances made me feel like I was different, and like I didn’t belong at a prestigious college. Over time, I realized that no matter how upset I was about my family background being different, there was nothing I could do to change it. Instead, I focused on meeting peers that I could relate to, which in the end, helped make the entire experience more positive.

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