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Kelleen Cullison

  • Oh, the Places You'll Go, the People You'll Know

    by Kelleen Cullison | Feb 03, 2017
    <p>In my last blog post on the Women&rsquo;s March on Washington, I focused on how Manchester helps you branch out into the world. I think even as a student outside of my writing that&rsquo;s something I focus on. If I&rsquo;m feeling homesick or lonely, I remind myself that this is a temporary situation, and that I should enjoy it while I can because I won&rsquo;t be a MU Spartan forever. But today that wasn&rsquo;t the case.</p> <p>I always feel a bit down when I return to campus from a stay at home. It weighs on me, all these new relationships and responsibilities I have here that don&rsquo;t exist a home, a place so familiar with friends I&rsquo;ve known for so long, I don&rsquo;t have to try when I&rsquo;m around them. It&rsquo;s just natural. This week was no exception, especially since it&rsquo;s the first week of the semester. It&rsquo;s the first time I&rsquo;ve faced such huge changes here without the shiny newness and eagerness of someone fresh off the bus. It&rsquo;s been a challenging week, and it&rsquo;s caused me to face some of my biggest insecurities. Am I smart enough to do this? Am I friendly enough to talk to new people? Can I keep my anxiousness in check with so much change all over the place?</p> <p>On top of everything else it seemed, today was the Activities Fair, and as Vice President of Feminist Student Union (yes, shameless advertising, you should totally come to our meetings), I needed to help run the booth. I had what seemed like a mountain of homework, and felt the urge to finish it all in one sitting. That&rsquo;s the way I get when I&rsquo;m anxious. I just push my way through life, getting everything done, unwilling to be distracted by anything. Unfortunately, the Activities Fair was a distraction I couldn&rsquo;t ignore.</p> <p>I arrived above the Jo Young Switzer center 10 minutes early, walking briskly with a no nonsense look on my face. There were people everywhere, moving around, trying to get things done, and I jumped right in. As a first year, I wasn&rsquo;t sure how many people would come to the Spring Activities Fair, since it wasn&rsquo;t required for first years, but I sat down dutifully, and prepared myself to talk to strangers that I really just didn&rsquo;t feel up for. (Anyone trying to manage anxiety knows that social anxiety grows exponentially with other forms of anxiety). All I had to do was try not to scare them off with my <em>totally pleasant </em>demeanor.</p> <p>I did what I normally find myself doing; sucking it up and trying to deal the best I can.</p> <p>It was then I realized that there really weren&rsquo;t that many strangers around me. In fact, I recognized most of the people coming through the doors, and many I didn&rsquo;t knew the people around me, my friends. FSU table was situated with many of the other social justice clubs, and so my fellow club members and friends were everywhere. I wasn&rsquo;t surrounded by strangers. In fact, considering the amount of people who knew all of these friends, I&rsquo;m not sure there was a true stranger in the room.</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t until after the fact, back in my dorm, that it was the first time on campus I&rsquo;d felt like I belonged, without trying. These people shared my interests, my friendship, and at the very least my school. I&rsquo;ve realized that this is what Manchester means when they talk about the community here. Even if you don&rsquo;t know someone, someone you know knows that someone, and chances are, they&rsquo;re really kind, and open to talk to you as well.</p> <p>No college or university has the perfect formula for everyone to have the time of their lives and feel totally at home, but I think today Manchester came pretty close. Instead of feeling like an outsider trying to be a part of the crowd, today I felt like a Spartan.</p> <p>So my advice is to join a club, or two, or seven. Don&rsquo;t be crazy involved, try find one you love and help it become better, be its driving force. It&rsquo;s not just a link to other people in that club, but to their friends, and to their friends, and so on. If you do that, I guarantee, there&rsquo;s one friend on campus for you, at least one. At Manchester, it&rsquo;s impossible to feel completely alone.</p> <p>As for me, I&rsquo;m still feeling a bit blue. I miss my schnauzer and my boyfriend and my best friend. But there are things worthwhile here as well, things worth missing when I go home. Today has reminded me of that.</p> <img src="/images/default-source/social-media-and-official-blogs/kelleencullisone470d1922d02625b9ff6ff0000763cab.jpg?sfvrsn=3672b362_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="KelleenCullison" title="KelleenCullison" /><br /> <em>Kelleen Cullison &rsquo;20 is pursuing an English major and minors in Journalism and Peace Studies. She hopes to work as an editor for a publishing company, and hopes to help current and prospective Manchester students avoid the mistakes she is currently making.</em>