I understand the common human desire after a long day of classes, to put your favourite Adidas sweats on, pour a whole box of Fruit Loops into a mixing bowl, and flick on the Great British Baking Show for however many hours it is between 3:00 p.m. and bedtime. In a university setting, you are constantly surrounded by people, and alone time is hard to come by. But, being surrounded by people does not mean that you are connected to those around you, does it? The idea of being alone in the presence of others is a feeling I am confident that most students know all too well.
So maybe you find yourself most nights binge watching Netflix, and the blissful appeal of re-watching The Office for the fourth time this semester is starting to wear off. Maybe you are living on-campus, surrounded by your peers, but you feel entirely disconnected and alone. Maybe you live off-campus, and your involvement in anything but your classes is dismal. Maybe you are at a place where you feel lonely, worn-out, and desperate for some real connections. You know that feeling when you head home for the first reading week of the semester? You get to share what you’ve been learning, who you’ve met, and the experiences that you’ve had with people that know and love you deeply. It is a powerful thing. This is why, I believe, every single Brock student should seek out a community.
Now, I hear you, going out of your way and for the first time in your life actually approaching a table in Mac Chown, or seeing if that person who you always sit by (but don’t actually know the name of) wants to grab a coffee, is a nerve-wracking experience. We live in an individualized, Apple-AirPod world. But, what if you went out of your way and sought out a relationship with someone new this semester. What if you went out to a club event night that you normally wouldn’t? What if you took that desire to be connected to others, put on pants without an elastic band, and sought out a community of others? There are countless clubs, groups, and gatherings that would be overjoyed to have you join in. University is an amazing opportunity to go outside of yourself, and learn from and grow with others that you might never connect with in everyday life.
Friends, chances are most of your fellow students feel the same way you do about taking out their ear-pods and connecting on a personal level. Chances are that you aren’t alone in feeling alone. We are created for human relationships. Relationships give us life. Community challenges us and supports us in ways that we cannot support ourselves.
So next time Netflix asks you if you’re still watching, in meaningful defiance, finish off that box of Fruit-Loops and press ‘NO’. Leave your room, and trust that your fellow Badgers are out there looking to connect with you, just as you are looking to connect with them. Finding a community of others that support you, care for you, and know you will make all of the difference in your University journey.
***Zack DeBruyne is new to Brock University as a Chaplain.***