Baa, Baa, Black Sheep: Tackling Isolation

You’re not alone, despite any feelings of distance or isolation. In this thought-provoking piece, Simone tackles those feelings head-on with encouragement and practical steps for anyone who feels like an outsider.

Sometimes, it’s hard being a black sheep. Standing out, not fitting in, being misunderstood, and feeling like the only one that’s different. Since I was a kid I always felt disconnected in a lot of ways, even from my own family and friends. As a college student, I’ve still found myself wondering – where exactly do I belong? When I entered Regent University two years ago this was uncomfortably magnified and through trial and error, I realized I’m not alone and have connected with others, who’ve felt the same. I’ve accepted that it’s okay to be the one that’s different. In fact depending on how it’s approached, it can be a tremendous blessing.

There are other black sheep inhabiting this world and surprisingly enough, can be found right here on campus. You’ve just got to be open, approachable, and paying attention. I like to believe that black sheep are special, limited edition, one-of-a-kind types that are worth getting to know, if others would take the time to get to know them. Coping with being a black sheep can be tough sometimes but is manageable, too. Here’s a few tricks that’ll help:

Get Involved
Whether you’re on campus or commute to school, there are plenty of ways to get involved and meet people. Why not join a campus club or available student activities that could link you up with new people? If you just reach out, you’ve got nothing to lose. From my experience, most people are usually friendly and there are plenty that want to meet others, too.

Ditch Your Comfort Zone
This one is still hard for me sometimes, but ditching my comfort zone has been a rewarding experience. While it’s felt uncomfortable (as it should be since it challenges most of us to step out on faith and do different things) it’s introduced me to new friends and experiences, I would have otherwise missed out on, had I not attended things happening on campus like Unchapel, Regent N.O.W., and more.

Chat Up a Stranger
This ties into ditching the comfort zone but chatting up strangers on campus (so as long as you don’t get creepy vibes or are in danger) can ease the black sheep experience. I’ve forced myself to talk to different peers, random students, and especially those who are sitting alone, because if I can help spare feeling left out for someone else, why not? Conversing with people you don’t know can help you realize that you may have more in common with others than you think.

Do Something (Already)
While I have a special place reserved in my heart for those that are different, I’m not a fan of excuses. I understand being social can be tough for some of us, and easier for others but if you feel left out, do something about it. Go to Café Moka (and chat up strangers), sit next to someone in class you never sit by or talk to, attend special events on campus, and explore for awhile.

Figure Out Where You Fit
When I arrived to Regent University, I was surprised to learn that even in college there are still cliques, and sadly Christian girls can be mean, too. Cliques are something I don’t think I’ll ever understand or particularly like, but it is what it is. I’m about inclusion and making others feel welcome because I know what it’s like being overlooked and set aside. It’s a process, and figuring out where you “fit” requires patience and does take time, but at least trying different things puts you closer to where you may belong. You just have to make the first step because it’s worth it. You’re somebody worth getting to know, so own it.

Simone Heard is a Staff Writer for the Daily Runner.