Finding your college niche is hard, but not impossible

University can be overwhelming. Joining a niche or community allows students to connect with other like-minded students. | Design by Ariana Rodriguez, PantherNOW

Ariana Rodriguez | Staff Writer

Trying to find your college niche is difficult, but stepping out of your comfort zone could be the answer. 

Moving from Orlando to Miami was a drastic change, leaving my high school clique behind in pursuit of higher education. The transition from high school to university is bumpy and isn’t without scrapes along the way. 

I’ve met several international students who have left behind all their friends and family to achieve greater things in life. If the change from Orlando to Miami was dramatic, I can’t imagine the difficulty of adapting to a different country and culture. 

But I just want to emphasize that you’re not alone. In Miami and especially FIU, it’s a melting pot of different cultures blended at one institution. 

There are countless clubs and organizations that are friendly and welcoming, and for me, Panther Esports is one of them. 

All the people I have encountered at Panther Esports have been kind and welcoming, especially since women find the environment to be hostile due to the stigma against girl gamers. With the help of other members, I felt safe in an environment that seemed intimidating from afar.

In the past, there have even been girls-only teams, most notably the Pink Team in Valorant for the 2021-2022 academic year. I feel as though having these girl-only groups are vital since many women express feeling harassed and bullied in the video game environment.

What fun is a game if there’s bullying and harassment?

The general attitude in Panther Esports is having a fun and amusing time. Having a smaller, tight-knit girl gamer community is key for many students who may feel shy or nervous to get involved in the Esports scene. 

There are more competitive games such as Valorant or Overwatch, however, there are many events held with more relaxing games like Mario Kart. Above all, there’s no need to feel insecure about skill level. If you’re good or bad at a game, it doesn’t matter. 

If video games aren’t your thing, then fret not, there are dozens of clubs and organizations here at FIU, which can be discovered through Panther Connect. 

University can be an overwhelming and intimidating environment, especially for freshmen. Joining a niche or community allows students to connect with other like-minded students who share similar interests, values, or goals. 

These connections often lead to long-lasting friendships, providing a crucial support system during the ups and downs of the college journey. The key is putting yourself out there. 

If you get out of class and run to your car, or lock yourself in your dorm, it’s going to be impossible to make these connections in the first place. 

I can list the endless benefits of joining a club or community, but it’s ultimately up to students to put themselves out there and make use of these years in college.

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