Abdi Hussein: Home Away From Home
Growing up, I’ve always had trouble putting myself out there, both socially and professionally. However, the one thing that I learned during my time here at Santa Clara is that there is a community for everyone, even in the places you least expect it. My first year on campus, I came in knowing only one person, which was my roommate at the time. We had met through the LEAD Scholars program and planned to live together after meeting the previous year in Zoom classes. Unfortunately, outside of that immediate relationship, I felt as though I had no community that I could turn to socially. It wasn’t until I started attending Igwebuike meetings that I started to feel a sense of belonging. However, due to the weekly nature of the meetings, I still had six days of the week where I felt alone.
I soon realized that it would be important for me to step outside of my comfort zone if I really wanted to find the community that I so desperately desired. I attended an event that would change the course of my college journey. The Muslim Student Association was holding an event for all students to get to know one another and enjoy some catered food. While at this event, a familiar face walked up to me and introduced himself. I had recognized him from Instagram but never had the chance to meet him in person. He invited me to his dorm one night to hang out with his roommate and friends. I quickly accepted the invitation and took down his number, but in the back of my mind, I had no intention of actually going because I was anxious just thinking about being in a room with people that I didn’t know. Against my best judgment, I went to his dorm that Friday night and had the time of my life. I met his entire friend group, whom I got along with very quickly, and very soon I became an integral part of all their plans going forward.
I share this story to show people that even though finding a community may be tough, it isn’t impossible. There are several other students going through a similar situation, so instead of isolating yourself, you should go out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. I now like to think of my main group of friends as my home away from home, because they are there for me in times when I need them the most. They push me to be the best version of myself, and we are always uplifting one another. If there is one thing you take away from this story, let it be to not be afraid to make new friends, because before you know it, you could very well just create a lifetime’s worth of memories with a new family.