Most people don’t start their college searches with inclusivity and LGBT+ communities in mind, but I am not most people. After being put through the ringer with another school I was planning on attending, I found myself being accepted into Longwood with open arms. While New Lancer Days was alright and people were all perfectly helpful and friendly, I still felt like an outsider.
I was hoping that eventually my introverted self would fall into a friend group. Instead, I found myself locked in my room in my free periods. It wasn’t until the third week of school or so when clubs were open that I found myself looking for rainbows, because then I knew I’d find people like myself. So, on a very hot autumn day in August, I wove through the throngs of people to the most colorful table: Longwood’s very own Pride. I signed my name, and showed up especially early on the first meeting of the semester.
There, I met a multitude of different people from different walks of life. I was lucky enough to recognize a few of them: two girls on my hall and a girl from my math class were all in attendance along with around twenty other people. You have to understand: I came from a small, conservative area. My high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance had around seven members. So seeing so many people under the acronym in one room was mind-blowing and darn near revolutionary for me.
Being in Pride has allowed me to come out of my shell, challenging me intellectually and emotionally, and has provided me with more friends than I ever thought I’d have. People I have come to rely on and trust implicitly. Having now attended Pride for a semester and a half, it’s hard to imagine me ever being anywhere else. Pride has been the most welcoming experience for me during my time at Longwood. Whether it’s promoting civil liberties and social change, making Sharpie-dyed t-shirts, or deciding to all eat at Moe’s one night, I can’t think of a better place for me to be: among friends.