There’s a certain feeling that home brings, that deep inner warmth that reminds you of all the little things stored there. The sound of your parents walking around, the constant sound of the washing machine because your house has 6 athletes who need clean clothes, the constant pile of shoes in the laundry room, your dad’s distinctive car horn to let everyone know he’s home, the way you just know when your mom made waffles for breakfast, and everything in-between. This warmth becomes a part of us, taking a piece of our heart to remind us that no matter what, home is our peace, our safety, our home.
There’s also a certain feeling that my university brings, that deep inner wonder that leaves you in awe of everything the campus and the colleges have to offer. The hundreds of scholarships and achievements listed on the walls, the statues and statements of hundreds of people far more successful than you, and the endless possibilities of everything that might happen. Honestly, it’s incredibly overwhelming. There’s the feeling of joy and belonging when you’ve found close friends, a sense of peace when you find out “I’m not the only one”, obnoxious pride when you finally get
that seemingly-demonic calculus 3 assignment finished that grade you worked so hard for, that feeling of accomplishment when you look at a 3D-printed part and realize you made that, and so many more feelings you have yet to understand.
So if you were to ask me how I felt about college, I don’t have a clear answer for you. There’s a lot going on here, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that yet. I will say one thing for sure though: I don’t feel like I belong here.
My friends here are the best
and arguably better than yours. My floor is the best. My RA is the best, and all the activities and sports I’ve gotten involved in here have made everything absolutely fantastic, better than I’ve ever imagined.
But I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I belong at this college. I’m not good enough to be at this college. No, I didn’t feel as if I belonged at that scholarship dinner for Mechanical Engineers. I don’t feel like I belong in a field dominated by math, science, and boys, when I’d much rather be writing, playing guitar, or reading. I don’t feel like I belong in classes like Differential Equations, Theoretical Applied Mechanics, or my various design classes. I don’t feel a sense of belonging here; whether it’s in this major, at this school, or just away from home.
Maybe this is just a maturity thing, maybe I need to “grow up”, but I miss that interior warmth of home. I miss having a space of my own, I miss having a sense of comfort and peace, and I frankly miss a lot of things. I’m not an adult, I’m not ready to “make my own future” when I’m not even ready to make my own meals.
I don’t feel like I belong here, but I know this is where I belong. This is where I need to be.
I have my spiel about “wanting to help people, to serve them and do all I can to give them all I can”, but it’s ultimately true. I want to build things that improve lives, that gives people un-thought of opportunities, that give hope and joy to as many people as I can. That’s why I’m in engineering, because so many of our problems are physical. I want to help the disabled, to serve the poor, to use the world around me to change the world of someone else. I don’t feel like I belong in a world of suits and ties and “business professional”, but I know this ultimately isn’t about me; it’s about the people around me, the people that I hope to help. That’s what’s keeping me here right now, in a perpetual world of mathematical anxiety and scientific stress.
I’m doing a novena to St. Therese right now, and as frustrated and “existentially-panicked” as I am right now, God keeps telling me to wait. He’s telling me daily to trust Him, to love Him, and to stop worrying already. I’m not really supposed to know exactly what I’m doing right now, and, even when it doesn’t feel like it, that’s okay.
Because I am enough. I am strong enough, smart enough, funny enough, athletic enough, fashionable enough, and maybe even weak enough. I’m weak enough to see all my weaknesses, my “lack of belonging”, but overall I know that this is where I belong, even when I don’t feel it.
I belong here, because this is ultimately where God wants me.
And that gives me a much better feeling.