I have talked with a lot of people about what they want out of a college experience. One of the most common answers I have gotten is lifelong friends. This is something I longed for as well. A big part of finding those lifelong friends was getting involved. My search for lifelong friends was about finding people who lived similarly to me, would push me to be better, and had different perspectives. I wanted to be surrounded by people I was comfortable around and challenged my perspective on the world. The turning point of my college career was when I found this group of people for me.
An easy way to find people that are similar to you is to join a student group. We have a plethora of student groups that people can get involved in that range all types of interests and activities. We have over 350 student groups to choose from. Some people choose an athletic team or a political organization or the compliment club. For me, it was a religious group.
While WashU is an independent, nonsectarian university, it has religious groups of all types. These groups include the Asian Christian Fellowship, Bhakti Yoga Club, Catholic Student Union, Chabad Student Association, Hillel Leadership Council, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Muslim Students Association, WU Sangat, and many more. All of these groups serve to give students an avenue to explore their religious identities.
The group of people happened I happened to identify with most were the women of Harambee. Harambee is our Black Christian Ministry on campus. I started going to the women’s bible study during the second semester of my freshman year. It was one of the best decisions I have made so far as a person that is trying to adult. It gave me a space to explore my faith as a semi-adult. The ability to have agency over my faith was important for me because I felt that it was a conscious choice of mine more than a cultural, community or family decision.
More than gaining agency, I got access to an amazing group of women who have provided support for me through this journey of college. These women have gotten me off campus for different events around the city, checked in on me while I was abroad, given me hugs when I need them. They have shown me different ways to look at the world, call me out when necessary, and are my confidantes. The women of Harambee are a huge source of encouragement for me. They are like sisters to me and are a big reason why I feel like I have a family in this place I now call home.
I have been able to find my lifelong friends through this group. The women of Harambee have been a big part of my support system. I know that the day I decided to get wholeheartedly involved in the things the WashU community offers is the day when I truly began to find my people.