The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Finding a Sense of Belonging on Campus

As a junior living in a first-year residence hall, the individuals that surround me often remind me of the feelings that I once felt as a first-year student. One theme that they remind me of is the desire to belong. 

A universal experience college students experience is “homelessness.” The places we grew up in do not always feel like home but being in college does not always feel like home either. Yet, you have the desire to go back to both places. 

Deep down inside, you feel like you do not belong in either place, yet you secretly love them equally. It is a strange feeling that leaves you feeling as though you are wondering about the universe. 

You may be wondering; I feel this way, but I don’t know what to do about it. Your definition of home is important to consider when thinking about this. 

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A factor that is important to explore is that home does not have to be the place where you live. If you think about the definition of home from this perspective, you do not feel like you are aimlessly wandering the universe. Home can be a group of people, a club or organization, or something you find comfort in. 

The saying “home is where the heart is,” is cheesy, but it is absolutely true. Finding something, an organization, or a group of people that you love can help resolve doubts about not belonging. 

For me, the friends I have made here provide me with a home through the fact they support me endlessly. Finding the right group of people, although it may take a few tries, will make the difference. The individuals that you feel that you can be yourself around will allow you to feel at home. 

Another way I found my home at college was within organizations. Creating connections and developing leadership roles allowed me to feel valued by others which continued to stop the feelings I had of not belonging.  

Taking the time to take care of and treat myself is something I find solace in. Presenting myself in a way that I feel most comfortable in makes me feel as though I belong. It allows me to take a second to stop my hectic life and appreciate the things I have. Taking the time to care for myself allows others to find a home within me. 

Being in a new place on your own for the first time can be daunting. It can leave you with a sense of “homelessness.” Trying to organize your life in college for the first time can be scary; but change does not have to be scary, embrace it. 

I encourage anyone who is doubting themselves to seek out what they feel like they are missing throughout their college experience. Try new things, meet new people, and join new organizations while building connections. 

When you are going down the path of the unknown, it is important to be kind to yourself. 

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About the Contributor
Aubree Etling, Roundtable Editor
Hello, Aubree Etling is a third year in the Physician Assistant program. She is from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. She is also the secretary of Gamma Sigma Sigma as well as a member of GUSPAS. This semester is her first time writing for The Gannon Knight for the Roundtable.

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