Being in college can be an exciting time to explore and grow. However, navigating life away from home for the first time can be a challenging experience. College is an especially important time for many LGBTQ students to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. Because of their increased self-awareness, LGBTQ students must find ways to express themselves and connect with others on campus. In addition to finding support in your community, here are six ways to become more active and involved on campus:
Identify your own needs and desires
You may notice that this article contains a lot of "yous”. Because you are an important member of your community, it is critical that you understand your own needs and desires, as well as those of the people around you. If we want our communities to succeed, we must first identify what they require from us and then communicate those requirements to one another so that everyone can work toward common goals.
Set goals and make plans to reach them
When you're in college, it can be difficult to find time to do the things that are most important to you. But if you have goals and plans for your life, you can ensure that they're met. Set some important goals for yourself first. For instance, you might want to pursue an online MBA degree while studying to improve your employability later on. Regardless of the objective, ensure that each goal has clear measurable steps to track their success effortlessly. Don't set too many goals at once; instead, try focusing on one thing at a time before moving on to the next.
Join some LGBTQ student groups
These groups are excellent opportunities to meet new people, make new friends, become involved in the community, and navigate college more easily. You can also share your experiences with other students who may be experiencing similar difficulties. If you're stuck for ideas, look through the list of student organizations on your campus (or look them up online). Consider starting an LGBTQ group if one doesn't already exist.
Participate in events to raise awareness
Events are an excellent way to raise awareness while also meeting other LGBTQ students. They can also help you connect with faculty members and staff from your school's LGBTQ resource center. If you want to participate in an event but don't know where to start, look for events during Pride Month or around another important date (like National Coming Out Day). You might be surprised at how many options are available!
Be open and answer questions from peers
You may be concerned about how your peers will react when you reveal your identity. However, it's important to remember that the majority of people are open-minded and eager to learn more about LGBTQ issues. Listening is the best way for them to understand, so be open with them and answer any questions they may have. You can also help others in similar situations by sharing your story with them; your experiences may help them realize that things will get better as they progress in life.
Find a good support system
Every college student needs a good support system to navigate this new environment more easily, but support becomes even more important when you’re an LGBTQ student. That is why you should strive to create a strong and encouraging network, whether that means making new friends, being active in the community, or seeking counseling. Admit to yourself when you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. You are not alone, and there are many people who will stand by you. If you need more assistance or have questions about being an LGBTQ student on campus, don't be afraid to leverage all the available resources your college offers.