I’ve always had trouble finding a “group.” In middle school and high school, I lamented not having people I could just call up and go hang out with. Even in a tiny school, cliques form, and I somehow ended up on the outside of the “popular” one right at the beginning of my high school career. By the end, things were better and my graduating class was very close, but as time passed, it was clear that closeness was because of survival. If I had had a choice, certain actions would have been a deal breaker for me, but that was not a good idea when you had to see them every single day. I definitely still have friends from high school, but not a “group.”
My last real community was church. I haven’t realized until recently how much that meant to be. Being involved in youth group gave me a place where I felt needed and that I needed. Then it was over, and then it was gone. Lots of people left the church altogether, the youth group got smaller, the leadership got shaken up and went in a direction where I didn’t fit anymore. It had happened kind of gradually, so I didn’t realize I was losing something so important to me. That’s a big reason why I haven’t found another church and why I’m so reluctant to even start trying.
I wanted college to be my community. I did make friends, some really close ones, and I don’t want it to sound like I’m minimizing their importance to me, but my experience has been so difficult that I can’t say that I feel like I belong at Macalester. I went to an English Department event and it just hit me. I didn’t know very many people and they certainly didn’t know me. I was supposed to graduate last year. When I finally do leave, it will have been six years since I started college at Northwestern. I’ve said it before, about how I need to let that go, the past is the past, yadda yadda. I’m not going to get a bunch of awards or have my name up on a plaque like my dad, or be a teacher’s assistant. Knowing something doesn’t make it any easier. It just makes it a lot more frustrating when you can’t get over it.