Katie Muriel, Contributor

I don’t know if it was the smell of sage, the taste of a Holy Donut on a nerve-wracking day or a rose-scented hug that first convinced me these people were going to be my friends for the rest of my life. It might just as well have been the tearful tarot reading in a cramped bathroom, the shaky hand-in-hand group meditation in a hot greenhouse of an apartment (no hippie), or the constant overabundance of hummus. It may have been the joy of a surprise birthday party in the WGS conference room, the never-ending group chat, or the sheer enthusiasm with which every seemingly outrageous suggestion is greeted. It was likely all of these things.

I can still remember the loneliness I felt back in the spring semester of 2017. It was something real and tangible, and if I look hard enough, I can still feel it like an old scar. I had myself, I had Netflix, I had books, and I had a handful of people from class that I would talk and hang out with on a irregular basis. One year later, I have a dozen close friends I talk to and see nearly every single day. It’s hard to express how much I didn’t realize I was lacking a community until suddenly, I had one. I felt it like a missing tooth; I dealt with the empty space until one day it wasn’t empty anymore.

College can be frustrating. Each of us knows this beyond any shadow of a doubt. To feel like you are alone when you are struggling to keep your head above water – in class, in your relationships, with your family – is nearly unbearable. Even as an introverted bibliophile and Netflix addict, I can tell you that seeking out a fictional world won’t always cut it. It’s for that reason, dear reader, that I urge you to find your community during your time here at USM. Acknowledge your needs, acknowledge your passions, and seek out the activities and groups USM has to offer that meet those things for you. If I hadn’t joined QSA and Huskies for Reproductive Health, I wouldn’t have found all of these incredible people whom I love so much. I want friends like this for each of you.

To my Goddesses: I am so proud of you. I am so proud to know you and be your friend. All of you have so much strength and courage. Each of you is so talented and brilliant and a shining light in an increasingly dark world. I’m so thankful for your unconditional love and lack of judgment and tight hugs and ceaseless encouragement. You are going to change the world and wow, what wild glory and incredible grace I get to witness. Thank you for being such pure forces for good. Thank you for standing for those who cannot, and using your voices to always speak up. I love you to all the moons and all the way back.


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