by Madi Gilhool

College has been a major test for me.  It feels like I have been here for a year when in reality, it has been 6 1/2 weeks.  There have been so many events that I don’t even know where to start. There have been so many late night conversations and library grinds and drag shows but what I am beginning to realize is that these things don’t fulfill me.  Yes, I love these seeing gay men dolled up as the queens they are and sitting in the Addlestone Library with my vanilla latte but none of those things add up to community. 

Community is what creates connection and connection is what creates fulfillment.  Community supports your craziest ideas and endeavors. From there, you connect with people by sharing your passion and love.  You draw people in so they can see what you are all about and what you have to give to the world. Once you have that support from those who stand with you, you’re able to do anything whether it is get out of bed that day, climb a fuckin’ mountain, or do something that scares you.  

Without community, we as people tend to feel lost.  We are social animals that thrive when we have person-to-person communication so when it feels like that is lost, we shut down.  That is how I have felt in college. I have not found a group of people that I feel like I can thrive in or where I can grow greater as a human being.  I have not found that place that forces me to question what I do each day. I am used to being in SHINE Power Yoga 5 to 7 days a week for a minimum of 3 hours each day. I am used to being challenged by those who love me and make fun of my uncoordinated limbs.  

But that is all a story.  

Maybe I don’t feel connected to a group at College of Charleston but I am challenged by my peers when they try to get to know me or by the lady who almost ran me over while I was in the crosswalk (yes, this is a true story; it has happened more than once; yes, I am alright).  I am pushed to grow as a person by branching out to different communities than I normally would. I can do these things because I have my roots. I still have my community that will be there when I am at my lowest, I still have the people who I can call when I feel that loneliness creep in, and I still have the lessons and tools I have learned through yoga.  With those roots, I still am connected. With the connection, I am still able to fulfill my wildest dreams. It’s a matter of taking action to stay connected to your roots so that they can empower you.

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