My Inner Social Outcast
Posted by lmuashley15
Every major has an array of classes that may sometimes really interest certain students, but bore others. As a psychology major, I tend to enjoy classes that discuss interaction and emotions more than I enjoy research. This semester, one of the most interesting classes I am taking is social psychology. I find the study of social influence, attitudes, and human interaction to be incredibly engaging, because it plays such a large part in my everyday life. Last week, one topic we discussed in class really hit home and I have been thinking about it since: Every person on this earth has probably, at one point or another, felt alone, or like a social outcast.
I have definitely felt like an outcast at certain points in my life, and I am sure most people can relate. When my professor asked if anyone felt alone in anything, there was an immediate rise of hands and many people gave their personal examples of how they felt alone within their social group. My personal example of feeling alone relates to being the only girl in my sorority that feels ready for marriage. As I have previously written in College and Dating: Love Advice From the (Not-So) Love Guru, my boyfriend and I have been together for four years. Because we have been together for so long and I care about him so much, I often express to my Kappa sisters how much I would like to get married in the next couple of years. Yet, my sisters and the general public often do not understand this want, because in the average 20-year-old woman’s mind, this is the time to be free, single, and have a good time. While I try to understand this sentiment, it is a hard one for me to imagine and not an appealing option. While my sisters support me, the general public can be less than supportive. I have had people tell me that I’m too young, that I need to explore my options, and even that I can’t know real love because Jared has always been my only love. In this way, being a committed woman, as a junior in college, has oftentimes made me feel alone and a bit of an outcast.
Sharing my story made me feel better in class, and soon I realized that every person had something that they felt alone in. Others felt alone because they didn’t have a steady relationship, because of their religion, and many other reasons. After thinking all week about this subject, I came to a really nice conclusion, and Cathy Bates helped me along.
If we’re all alone, then we’re together in that, too. This may sound cliché, but I feel that embracing the parts of me that don’t necessarily fit in with my group of friends is what makes me unique. If I was like everyone else, then I would not be Ashley. I would not be any different than the average. Somehow, it seems that there is a give and take with this concept. In order to be a unique individual, I must also accept that I will not necessarily always fit in. This is sometimes very hard for me. I’m the girl that wears her heart on the inside of her jacket, waiting for someone to ask how I feel so that I can tell them. In this way, what people say to me often affects me way more than it should. At this time in my life, I have found myself in a constant battle between caring too much, but not putting myself out there at the same time. With this new idea, that being different is probably some of the best parts of myself, I am hoping to become a more well-rounded Ashley.
LMU has helped me in many ways to embrace my social outcast thus far. As odd as it may sound, pledging a sorority was probably one of the most daring, atypical acts I have done in college. Looking back, I would do well to model the young pledge I was two years ago. Being a psychology major, I have learned so much about people, emotions, and myself that my head is always filled with the interaction that is going on around me. I commonly find myself not focusing on what people do, but why they do it. I believe this has actually helped me to become a more mindful, compassionate person. Lastly, college life in general has continuously challenged me to put myself out there. I recently participated in a lip syncing contest with my Kappa sister Alyssa, and even though we did not win, we both agreed that it was something we would not have previously done and were the better for it. College is such an amazing time to get an education, make friends, and find you. My advice: Embrace your social outcast.
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