Perhaps you are soon to be embarking on your journey to college, whether it’s for the first time, or you’re returning for another level of education. Either way, college can often be the perfect opportunity to re-create yourself and be the person that you’ve always wanted to be, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ students.
Maybe you’ve faced non-acceptance from parents or even bullying from your peers so far, and getting to college is your chance to finally get away from all that and live a life that you deserve. And that’s awesome, but how much of yourself should you be willing to change? After all, you’ve been shaping this personality of yours for at least the past eighteen years. College is a time for new experiences, risks, learning about yourself, and making new friends. And when you go to college, you’ll meet new people from different backgrounds, interests, morals and ideas – it’s not difficult to find where you fit in. As an LGBTQ student, no matter what your experience has been so far, here’s how to start loving yourself in college.
Are you worried that you won’t fit in because of the way you look? Perhaps you’ve got a quirky fashion sense or maybe you have been struggling with a disability that you feel makes you stand out. The truth is, everybody worries about this a little bit when they first head to college. And the best way to overcome it is to make yourself be comfortable in your own skin. It’s going to be difficult at first, but eventually, people will start to warm to you for who you truly are, and you’ll make friends who love you for you.
It’s sad but it’s true – if you’re dealing with somebody in your life who brings you down, can’t accept you, and makes you feel terrible on a regular basis, then college is your opportunity to let this toxicity go and decide that you don’t have to put up with this anymore. Anybody in your life can end up being toxic for you, and if you’re finding yourself feeling down, disheartened and upset because of a specific person, then moving away to college – and away from them – can do you a world of good and make it easier for you to begin to love yourself again. Keep contact to a minimum as often as you can.
Therapy can be a wonderful way to discover who you are and learn coping strategies that leave you feeling strong and capable of tackling the world in front of you. Even if you were lucky enough to be brought up by kind and accepting parents, and have had no issues from family and friends, going to therapy can be a great release for talking about anything that’s been bothering you, from self-esteem worries to stress about fitting in and making friends. And your therapist can work with you to help you get to a point where you love yourself.
One of the best things about going to college is that it’s filled with a wide and diverse range of people from all walks of life. As a college student, you will have so many different communities to choose from – whether it’s people who meet up regularly to discuss or practice a shared hobby or sport, or your campus LGBTQ community. Get involved with as many like-minded people as possible, but also don’t be afraid to try out new things. Join clubs and societies just because you like the sound of what they’re doing – after all, college is about new experiences and there’s no shame in deciding that something isn’t for you; it’s still worth trying out.
Remember that there’s always going to be someone who shares the same passions as you, and there are always going to be others who simply don’t get it. That’s fine – after all, there are probably plenty of people with hobbies that you simply don’t understand why they love it so much. Be non-judgmental to others and try to accept everyone as they are, and you’ll find that you’re worrying less and less about what others think of you, and more focused on what you think of yourself and trying to be a better person.
Whether you’re studying for your bachelor’s degree in your freshman year, or have decided to check out one of the MBA MSN dual degree programs online and return to education, achieving something during your time at college can give you a true sense of satisfaction and help you to believe in yourself more. This could be anything from achieving something academic that you have been working towards, like top marks in an essay or assignment, or getting something outside of your studies like a sporting achievement, starting a small business on campus or saving a certain amount of money. Think about your goals and start reaching for them now – who says that they have to wait until after you’ve graduated!
It can be easy to fall into a rut of binge-watching Netflix and getting drunk in your spare time at college, but this won’t help you with loving yourself if you do it too often. If you’ve started to feel that your spare time is wasted, then it might be time to find something good that you can do with it. Volunteering is a great way to fill this gap and will leave you feeling awesome about yourself too. Whether you’re taking money at a local thrift store, working with homeless people in town, or volunteering at a local animal rescue center, using your spare time to help others will fill you with a sense of pride and help you become more empathetic. And, don’t forget that the work experience you gain will look great on your future resume.
Learning to love yourself at college is one of the biggest achievements you will make.