Freshman year of college was a very disorienting time for me. I was unsure, I was nervous, and I was awkward. All of the social insecurities that I thought I’d come to terms with in high school came back and this time, they were stronger than ever.
One weekend, I found myself heading out to a party with a group of people from my dorm. At the time, they seemed far cooler than me. Their sneakers, their haircuts, the effortless way they laughed with one another — they seemed to have everything figured out.
I felt like an imposter.
I resolved to just keep up and try not to say anything that would make them realize how out of place I felt. Then someone — coincidentally also named Mike — interrupted the running dialogue in my head to say “hey”. I was so grateful.
Mike then went on to tell me each person’s name and share a funny, humanizing story about them.
After five minutes of talking with Mike, I felt less like an outsider. I'll never forget that night and how that one act of kindness made me feel anchored and accepted. Ever since, I have looked out for opportunities to extend this same sense of kinship to others who might be feeling like outsiders.
You’d be surprised how little it takes and how much it means to simply show someone that they too belong.
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