Some students struggle to find their niche

Eternal Flame photo courtesy: Derrick Taylor

Friendship, camaraderie and fellowship are the backbone of the college experience. 

For many young people, finding lifelong friends and the ideal community base in college has been reiterated by older family members, teachers and mentors since early childhood.

 Full of hopes and dreams of self-discovery upon their college entrance, young people leave their past lives and ideologies behind as they transition into their new reality. Many new college students are apprehensive about finding the community they have yearned for for so long.

The avenues to find the ideal niche in college are endless. Unlike secondary school politics, college offers a wide range of groups for individuals with similar interests away from judgment. Safe spaces to be authentic among like-minded individuals are everywhere. 

At Florida A&M University, the task at hand can be pretty intimidating to a newcomer. The publication of specific organizations may cause others to fall into the shadows, causing students to look even harder to find their place. 

In addition to the wise hierarchy of organizations on campus, there is a multitude of organizations in general. Weeding through the tall grass of the organization list has proven discouraging to some students. 

With over 300 registered student organizations, how can you find your place in the sea of opportunities as a student? 

Monye Ajinaku, a second-year agriculture business major from Atlanta, said, “Honestly, I’m still trying to find where I fit in organization-wise. I have a good friend base. In terms of finding organizations to join, you learn about them through mutual friends and word-of-mouth.” 

In contrast to Ajinaku’s approach of using common acquaintances to learn about different cohorts to join, others are finding their way differently.

Zaire Jouiner, a second-year business major from St. Louis, said, “It’s a lot of trial and error. You will inevitably find friends along the way by trying new things and extending yourself. Making friends in different situations is important. Certain friends are good for certain things, and I think that is healthy,” Joiner said. 

In terms of making those friends, Junior said, “You just have to open yourself up to it. People here are usually amiable. Speaking to people in class goes a long way, especially with social media as a way to keep in touch.”

Chandler Lilly, a second-year business student, said, “It took me a while to find my footing with friends; even today, I keep a small circle. I’ve joined organizations through finding them on iStrike and visiting the Club and Organizations fair.”