Finally found that home away from home.
My first semester at college was a turbulent one.
I didn’t transition from high school as fluidly as I had hoped. More often than not, I found myself feeling out of place and lonely, never entirely sure where I fit in. Sure, I was surrounded by friendly faces but I wasn’t exactly friends with many people. There were no Wednesday night dinners with “the crew,” no circle of people to go out on the weekends with. Besides my brief time rushing, I hardly did anything social.
The problem, I would realize later on, wasn’t that I couldn’t make friends. I just wouldn’t.
I was too afraid to take the initiative to get involved, and that was my downfall. (Sure) if you don’t try new things, you won’t face rejection, but you also won’t have the opportunity for acceptance. With the exception of joining my school newspaper in sophomore year, I let much of high school pass me by. My guiding principle was the idea that if things are meant to be, they’ll just happen. Good people will come to me, or so I hoped.
In reality, no one is a mind reader. Nothing is ever a “yes” if you don’t speak up and ask for it, and I recognized myself falling into the same pattern in college.
After berating myself for letting first semester slip through my fingers, I entered the second semester with one goal in mind: conquer my anxiety and meet new people. I consciously forced myself outside of my comfort zone because I promised myself I would not let college be another era of lost opportunities. And when I actively decided to make a change in my life, something beautiful happened — I found happiness and peace.
My saving grace came in the form of a co-ed Buddhist fraternity on my campus — Delta Beta Tau. I had heard beautiful things about this group before, but something always held me back from attending any of their meditation sessions during the fall.
With my newfound courage, however, I dragged my heavy heart out of the dorms and over to the first Delta Beta Tau meeting of the spring semester. That one action created a domino effect that completely revitalized my energy and hopes about college life.
As I sat in the meeting room, I watched as old friends greeted each other with laughter and smiles that could have melted hearts. I looked in awe as friends spun around in circles, excited to reunite for the first time after the holidays, and I felt this unbelievable rush of warmth.
The meditation itself only lasted five minutes, but there’s something enchanting about a group of strangers coming together to find their own sense of peace in life. Delta Beta Tau reminded me of something I hadn’t realized I missed. It had been a little over two years since I truly showed my vulnerable side to others, and to have them look back at me with nothing but compassion and empathy in their eyes was beautiful.
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All it took for me to change my life for the better was one decision.
Now, five weeks later since I first attended a meeting, I feel as though the burden of loneliness has been lifted from my shoulders. The people that encompass Delta Beta Tau are some of the purest and most thoughtful beings I had ever come across, and their dedication to spreading love and kindness to others continues to astound me each day.
I have cultivated more happiness and friendship with these people in the last few weeks than I had all last semester, and I am ever grateful to have stumbled upon them.