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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The importance of finding your community

Students+gather+in+the+Integrated+Sciences+Complex+to+catch+up+after+classes.+Photo+by+Olivia+Reid+%28She%2FHer%29+%2F+Photography+Editor.
Olivia Reid
Students gather in the Integrated Sciences Complex to catch up after classes. Photo by Olivia Reid (She/Her) / Photography Editor.

Regardless of where you are in your life journey, the process of finding friends can be a bit intimidating. It’s difficult not only to put yourself out there, but also to find the right people to surround yourself with. But what does it mean to find the “right people?” This can have different meanings for everyone. And as we grow older, it becomes especially important to determine what this means for each individual person.

As a college student, the aspect of support has been crucial to my success. There have been nights when I lost motivation and wondered if proceeding with my education may be worth it. These moments are when my support system has played a vital role in my perseverance. Surrounding myself with people who are in the same position allows a level of empathy that truly does help push me forward. However, finding this community is more than just mutual understanding; It’s also about truly wanting the best for each other.

Having a genuine group of friends has really helped my personal and academic growth because they see what I’m capable of, even when I don’t see it in myself.  My personal community is made up of mentors, friends and family who all allow me to develop in a safe space. In school, this type of support is essential. However, building this supportive network has not been easy.

We’ve all encountered people who were not as genuine as they initially appeared. This can be discouraging, and sometimes it prevents me from opening up to new people and trying again. But in moments like this, I’ve tried to remember that not everyone I want is meant to be in my close support system, and that’s okay. 

I’ve found amazing friends after losing some that I’ve had for years. Every door that closes only allows a new door to open. I know I’ve sometimes lost trust in people, but the ones that have stayed are worth ten times what I’ve lost.

Sometimes the hardest challenge is even finding the people to start building these healthy relationships. A good place to start is to try finding a group of people with common interests. At UMass Boston, there are so many clubs that provide an outlet to explore our passions. I’ve met a lot of my friends through shared interests like food or clubs! But these relationships only started once I took the first steps toward discovering them. 

It’s important to remember that sometimes, we just need to meet people halfway. I can’t expect to change my environment without changing my situation. As someone with anxiety, going out of my way to go to certain places in the hopes of finding friends is a terrifying thought, I won’t lie. But beautiful things have happened in my life from taking steps outside of my comfort zone.

The more I find people who appreciate my company just as I do theirs, the more I realize a comfort zone is just me getting in the way of my own potential future happiness. I have friends who have helped me face some of my fears that, in hindsight, were never that scary to begin with. This kind of support during the school year has been essential, as there are times when I’m too nervous to join a study group or too shy to ask for help. My friends have always been there to give me the little boost of confidence I needed. 

As I said, finding these friends was hard, and it took me getting comfortable with being uncomfortable to start looking for them. But once I did, all that previous anxiety felt worth it. The people who are meant to be in my life will gravitate toward me. They will come in and it will feel natural, not forced or imbalanced. They’ll help add positivity to my life, not rob me of it.

These people in my life have helped me through my self-doubt and anxious thoughts. And just as much as they’ve supported me, I’m committed to supporting them. Healthy relationships should never feel like you’re putting in all the effort, all the time. My friends make me feel appreciated, and I make sure they feel it right back. This mutual connection is the core of every important relationship to me. 

Without this support system, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my academic career or my life. As a transfer student here at UMass Boston, there were times when I felt like I was falling behind on my life path. My community was the thing that helped me move past these thoughts and offered reassurance throughout any stage of my life. 

I’m excited to begin this school year here at UMass Boston and connect with even more people who want to push each other to greatness. Here’s to an exciting year filled with new encounters and new experiences that only allow for growth. Good luck, and if you want it, I hope you find the perfect friend group to help you flourish!

About the Contributors
Mercy Moncada, Opinions Writer
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor