The prospect of the first year of college is daunting for anyone. Add to that the complications and difficulties inherent to the LGBTQ experience and you might be wondering if you’re in for a really difficult year. With some perspective and a little guidance, things which once appeared like mighty mountains to climb will become small, easily approached bumps in the road, with nothing being beyond to hold you back. College campuses can be difficult places to exist with your identity, but they’re also the best in some ways. So, without further ado, here are 10 tips for making the most of your first year of college as an LGBTQ individual.
1. Don’t Be Pressured to Express Your Identity
Ironically, with much of the country still uncomfortable with the idea of LGBTQ people promoting their identity, college campuses can be places where the opposite is the case, which can have its drawbacks, too. If some people happen to find out that you are gay, don’t feel obliged to scream it from the rooftops, even if that’s what they are doing. In promoting LGBTQ rights, some people forget that equality includes the right not to want others in your business.
2. Keep Learning
As a socio-political issue, sexual orientation and gender issues are massively important, more so now than ever. It’s important that you keep educating yourself, not just about your own identity but about all identities. This includes learning about straight people and those who oppose LGBTQ rights. Don’t let your world become an empty echo chamber.
3. Learn Charity Through Your Own Experience
Whatever your identity, you are likely to encounter challenges. It’s important for you to respond to these things appropriately. “As best as you possibly can you want to make sure that your difficult experiences at college breed charity in you towards all people, rather than embittering you …. We’ve never needed people to be kinder to those who disagree with us more than now,” says Jacqueline Monroe, educator at Academized.
4. Drop the Labels
It’s worth pausing before announcing to the world your identity. This isn’t to say you should feel restricted in any way, but just be aware that college is a time when a lot of people change, and you might want to consider the fact that you’re at the start of your development.
5. Don’t Forget Who You Are
Being LGBTQ in college can often mean that people, even those within the LGBTQ community, try to decide who you are for you. They may equate you with your identity. Don’t forget that you are the culmination of everything in your life, not just what these people say you are.
6. Don’t Expect Too Much from Coming Out
“A lot of students in college find it a comfortable place to come out, which …. can sometimes create an illusion that coming out in college is going to solve all of their issues. This isn’t true. Don’t do it as a solution, do it if you truly feel it’s what you want,” advises Lukas Melwood, tutor at BoomEssays. Make sure that you are prepared for it being the beginning of a process, not a fix-all.
7. Embrace the Community
If you’ve ever felt lonely in your identity, college is a time when you will really get a sense that you aren’t alone. Embrace that feeling of unity with those around you within and out of the LGBTQ community. It’s a special time.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Change
College administrations are receptive to being lobbied. Feel like something is needed for you and your peers? Ask for it and be the change you want to see.
9. Help Your Friends
Always look for moments to teach your friends about your identity. After all, learning is what college is all about!
10. Be Yourself
As long as it’s not harming anyone else, be exactly who you want to be and don’t forget it. That’s how you’ll make it through.
It can be a tough time starting out at a new place, surrounded by new people. Your identity is an inseparable part of your character and it’s vital that you hang on to that and find ways to make the most of the LGBTQ experience on a college campus.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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