Being unapologetically myself

Hannah Schulz is a senior Digital Innovation, Film and Television major. She is the Head Copy Editor for the Newswire from Cincinnati. She has been a part of Newswire for three years. 

In a lot of senior op-eds, people talk about finding their place at Xavier. I never had that.

Even throughout high school, I was the social jumper: I fit in just enough with groups to get by, but never enough to feel like I truly belong. I’ve never had a ride-or-die group of friends, a ‘How I Met Your Mother’-type group dynamic. That’s what I longed for as a freshman, but I never found one.

The majority of the Xavier community is incredibly warm and welcoming. I’ve felt supported, cared for and encouraged by fellow students, faculty and alumni alike. I truly believe that Xavier is one of a kind, and leaving here will be a grieving process for me since the remainder of my senior year has been ripped away. Even so, I haven’t found a group to be a part of, at least not completely.

I thought I’d found the perfect fit within various spaces on Xavier’s campus, but I never found somewhere that I wasn’t holding some of myself back. I’ve never felt comfortable enough to share who I am for various reasons. Sometimes it’s my insecurities holding me back, sometimes it’s the reception I’ve gotten for previous attempts to relax. The puzzle pieces just haven’t quite fit.

I have a hard time reading social cues, and I’ve felt somewhat alienated because of that. It just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does for others. I have to work at it and consciously think about my interactions. 

This makes me an incredibly awkward person. For a lot of people, I’m just a little bit too weird to be around often. Being painfully introverted also means I’m also not great at venturing out and speaking with people I don’t already have some familiarity with. Joining new clubs, for example, takes a lot out of me.

This social outcast feeling has been with me for a long time, and sometimes I feel like I miss out on things by not having that totally welcoming and accepting group of people. I have people that love me and are there when I need them, but never that ‘Friends’-esque group dynamic.

But honestly, I’m OK with that. I’m learning to be at peace with the fact that I never really found my “people” at Xavier. I don’t have a Rachel to gossip with or a Joey to laugh with, but I have friends that are still irreplaceable, even if I take that for granted sometimes.

And it’s possible that I’ll never find that group dynamic. I don’t want to compromise who I am and who I want to be in order to fit into a mold. I don’t want to bend and twist and contort parts of me in order to be who people want me to be. The hodge-podge of friends I have now are more than enough.

If you’re struggling with finding your place like I am, take stock in what you do have and don’t be afraid of reaching out. If our current world has proven anything, it’s that people want to interact with others. You are worthy of love and acceptance. The people that matter the most accept you for all of you, and secretly, we are all just finding out who we are and where we fit. Just try and find those people who like the shape you’re in.