The Big Move
In 2014 I left my home state of Texas and traveled all the way to Boulder, CO. While it has definitely been a really awesome experience I had some real struggles when I first moved from Dallas. After getting relatively settled in at my new school and environment I started to realize that I had really underestimated how much of an effect leaving all my family and friends behind and starting over completely would have. When I moved to Boulder I did not know a single person in the entire state of Colorado. While eventually I was able to find my way here and move beyond the struggles that go along with a fresh start, I really found solace in some of the other transfer students I had come in contact in my short time in Boulder.
New Friends, New Place
When I first arrived at CU I got to be apart of the transfer orientation which was really rewarding in the sense that I got to meet up with a lot of people that were in the same situation as me and could really understand the struggles that came along with transferring into a new school and missing that connection aspect that typically happens during freshman year. What would really become valuable about these relationships was as the semester ran on and I dealt with feeling a real sense of isolation at times as well as some major homesickness, the connections I had made from orientation really helped me move beyond. Of these people I ended up developing a really strong relationship with a friend from Georgia who really understood the challenges that the distance posed.
The importance of Empathy
What really stuck out about the impact these connections made, was that because of the fact that these people were often also dealing with similar issues and struggles, there was very much a strong sense of understanding among us. As Brene Brown discussed in “Boundaries, Empathy and Compassion”, a real hallmark of empathetic connection is reaching within ourselves and finding those feelings that corresponds with the issues the people around us face. When we find that sense of camaraderie and understanding within each other we better connect and identify with those we are trying to comfort. The real identifying trait that allowed a lot of the transfer students that I met during my first year was just a real understanding between us of the issues that we all faced and how that brought us all together. Empathy goes a step beyond distant sympathy and these relationships were a real example of that difference for me.