Parker’s Story- Finding Myself

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

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Hi, my name is Parker, and I am a freshman at Michigan State University. I came here with pure excitement about all the opportunities I would get to find, to make new friends, and to feel that I belong.

At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I was a part of ROTC, which kept me very busy. ROTC is a very private organization, so I can’t speak much about what I did while being a part of it, but I can say that being in ROTC taught me how to be a leader by putting me in a leadership role that I’d never quite had before. It took me out of my comfort zone, and pushed me to become more sociable with others, which helped me immensely to find the group of people in which I belong on campus.

During my second semester, I dropped ROTC for reasons I’m not able to speak on. Dropping ROTC left me with so much free time, and without the close network of friends I had gained while being a part of the program. Not having the feeling of belonging to a group left me bored and in the search of people I could be comfortable with as my friends. Luckily for me, a few guys that I knew on campus introduced me to Delta Lambda Phi. This is unlike any other fraternity on campus because it is the only national fraternity founded by gay men for all men. The most drawing features about this fraternity, and why I joined, were that the members were caring of each other, the environment was positive, and they were all extremely welcoming. These men were my new group, though I wasn’t exactly a part of the fraternity yet, I could already tell that this was where I belonged.

Though finding where I belonged on campus took my entire first semester and required that I move outside of my comfort zone, it was well worth every minute. Both groups that I was a part of have taught me so much, like responsibility, timeliness, and, most importantly, self-worth. College is about the experiences you have, and it all depends on the people you choose to be around. Those people help make up our college experiences, and for that, having great friends will ensure a great college experience.

This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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