WHAT IS IT?
For me, this aspect of Ohio State was evident even before classes began my first year. During my summer orientation, I quickly noticed I was one of the few students there with a minority identity. I remember thinking multiple things at the time, most of them not so positive. I was surprised, nervous, and even a little disappointed–can you relate to these feelings?
THE REALITY OF IT
Ohio State’s enormous student body consists of so many different people; however, the vast number of people doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything about the numbers of those who identify as a minority. Despite the one lump sum of the student body, the reality of Ohio State is that when the student population is scaled down to an underrepresented population, there’s a noticeably smaller number of people. I mean, it’s literally in the name: underrepresented. They lack in numbers. I could bore you with statistics right now, which I won’t, but believe me when I say that there is plenty of data (counts, percentages, surveys, etc.) that show that it may be tougher to find a sense of community on campus if you’re a minority. However, as a second-year student, I went through it myself not too long ago, and I’m here to help elaborate on what you can do.
FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY ON CAMPUS
“Where do I go?”
That is essentially the big question. I know, I asked myself that same question. You may be as concerned as I was about trying to find a group of people that look like you and can relate to culture, experiences, backgrounds, language, heck, even your name! It’s important, I understand. You may or may not have had that community back home or in high school, but Ohio State DOES have these communities; you just have to be willing to look around! There are plenty of opportunities and resources to take advantage of here. Ohio State WANTS you to have that sense of community.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
- Join a club/organization that revolves around your identity – This one is pretty straightforward. With 1,300+ registered student organizations, there are so many opportunities to meet those who share your identity. You can check out the full directory of registered student organizations in the Discover app on your iPad or online. Save some time and use those filters!
- Take advantage of events held by the university – Ohio State, like I said, wants you to be included in your respective community. Therefore, multiple events are offered throughout the entire school year for every identity! Save the dates and get some more info about these events through the Multicultural Center webpage.
- Access your resources – A university dedicated to helping you find community means numerous resources are available to you as a student; these resources are great ways to get connected with your community through involvements, programs and just general support! Check out all the ways Ohio State supports diversity initiatives and resources on campus.
“No one here looks like me.”
Perhaps you’ve thought this exact thing at an event for your major, through involvement with something else, or just sitting in class. I know how it is, I’ve experienced it myself. It’s a bit daunting to just look around and notice that. Even being a Peer Leader, where there are 28 of us, it’s the same story. I’ve had many talks about being and feeling isolated, and although I’m probably not much older than you, I do have some words of wisdom and encouragement that I want to share.
Be confident in yourself and your identity. If you stand out, you might as well stand out to the best of your ability. Use that as leverage to break stereotypes (which exist, unfortunately), be a role model, and represent your community in the best way possible.
If this post really spoke to you, go check out those links! Thank you for reading!