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When I was preparing for my transition from high school to college, the piece of advice I heard most frequently was “get involved in organizations early!” In an attempt to heed this advice, I dove headfirst into campus life, joining organizations that were similar to ones that I had been involved with in high school. And for the first semester of college, things were going great. I had done what I was “supposed” to and gotten involved on campus. Now what?

Around the beginning of my second semester, though, I started to realize that despite being involved in groups that I thought aligned with my interests, I wasn’t happy. That realization really bothered me – I had been heavily involved in similar organizations in high school, so why weren’t things clicking here? When I mentioned the issue, a family member suggested that I try quitting those organizations and exploring other opportunities. It was sound advice, but as someone that’s resistant to change, I refused to listen and just kept chugging along, feeling vaguely disconnected from the Carolina community. In my mind, the organizations I was involved with stood for who I was as a person…that couldn’t change, could it?

Now that I’m a senior, I realize how wrong that assumption was. College is a time of so much transition, and it’s only natural that your interests change too. Most high schools don’t have the opportunities for student involvement that UNC has, so to pigeonhole yourself into the interests that you develop within that narrow framework is a disservice to yourself and your college experience. Luckily, I finally pulled my head out of the sand and started trying out different organizations, which helped me to discover new interests and has done so much to enrich my Carolina education.

So, what I hope you take away from this blog post is this: if you’re feeling disconnected from the UNC community, or you feel like you’re not making the connections that you want within your student organization, don’t be afraid to change. Explore your interests and let your identity evolve, and I can promise that you’ll be happier because of it.

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