In my first year of university, to say that you belong somewhere was to suggest you are placed there, passively, like an object on a shelf, not that you earned it. Yet everywhere I have felt a connection to, and every group I have felt love within has required compromise, work, and time.
I was born in Guy's Hospital, so some may say studying on Guy's Campus, is fate, that I belong there. When I walked on to campus for the first time, and every time since then, I feel confident and I feel calm, but I also feel accomplished. I studied long hours, I went through UCAS and I selected King’s as much as they selected me, there’s no way of ever knowing if that was fate, but I know I earned it, it wasn’t passive.
At the start of common year one, I spent a lot of time going back home, trying to maintain friendships and relationships in both places, participating actively in neither, and feeling as though I was missing out, always. It was exhausting. I thought that was how it was supposed to be, and that because I felt belonging in both places, that I had to sit in the middle ground and endure the exhaustion that came with it. Both things collapsed before me, I had a breakup, I drifted from friends, and I suffered mentally and academically all because I was trying to hold on to those feelings of belonging.
Gradually, I stopped grasping so hard to those places and those people, and surely, some people on the opposite end of my grasp, let themselves slip out of it, but others picked up where I slacked, and helped me to maintain our connection. I started saying no to plans and made plans with myself and looked for comfort there. Now when I do something or go somewhere, I actively put myself there, and participate. Now, even though sometimes I don’t feel comfortable, I also no longer feel as though my world and what I care about is going to implode if I leave that middle ground I once thought I belonged in.
Once I stopped searching for belonging in places and with others, stopped accepting it as a passive experience, and found it within myself, I excelled. The work I do, and the effort I put into different tasks and situations, is to maintain a healthy relationship with myself. If you’re wondering if you belong at King’s, stop, and change the way you think about belonging, you will get so much more out of your time here.
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