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Why I Love The Cabrini Community

Posted on 2/19/2020 4:11:18 PM by Katie McCauley

When I first enrolled in Cabrini University, it was a decision based on a strong belief in community. I did not choose to come to a random school; I chose to come home. I believed that I would find a family here, and over the course of three years, I have. I have made friends that will last beyond a lifetime. For me, Cabrini’s core value of community has always been the strongest and most valuable aspect of their mission.

As a child, I was bullied all throughout grade school; though I had a solid group of friends, the general community in my grade school was toxic and disheartening. I was bullied for the way I looked, the way I acted, the friends I had, the art I made. Nothing was good enough to please my peers, and everything was material laid out in order to get to me. I spent days with girls looming over me and mocking my rounded face and soft stomach in a time where I did not even know what that meant. At the end of the day, the only place I felt a solid belonging with was with my friends.

When I got to high school, things quickly began to shift. We were not one of the feeder schools that lead directly into a high school; we had our choice of where to go. Though there was an all-girls school basically right up the street from me, I chose to go to a co-ed high school about half an hour away. My friends all went to different high schools, except for a few friends that I wasn’t nearly as close with. Though I tried to keep in touch, my friends quickly decided they were tired of me; they didn’t want anything to do with me. They no longer answered my texts, they went out without me; they abandoned me altogether. This included my childhood best friend, who had grown up in my house, who had slept on my couch more times than I could count on one hand, who I had always considered the person I trusted most in the entire world. Even he wanted nothing to do with me. I was crushed. The friends that decided to go to high school with me, though, still stood by me. I was not completely alone, and I was so incredibly thankful for that. I made new friends in high school, of course, but it was the ones that I was familiar with that made it even just a little bit bearable.

However, just a little under a year later, these same girls grew tired of me the same way my other friends had - they all put me in a group chat and told me that I was mean, ugly, and not worth the time they had spent on me. I spent the entire night crying, and did not go into school the next day - I did not want them to think they had gotten the best of me, but I was too weak to even pretend to put on a brave face. I was completely and utterly devastated, and even more so alone. It was my first, and my thus far most real and authentic heartbreak. It is something that I will never be able to forget, for many reasons.

As I entered what is by far the darkest point in my entire life (and was forced to face my bullies - the people that I once considered my friends - every day for the next two years), I considered how lonely I was, and wondered if it was my own fault. This had happened twice now, this dramatic friend-breakup, so maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the problem that had ruined my own life. But then, there was light in the darkness.

One of my friends, who was not as close to me as some others, reached out to see if I was okay. I was taken aback; at this point, I was sure that I was completely alone in the world. I told her what was going on, and she informed me that she would watch out for me, declaring herself my new best friend. I was shocked; just after I had been told I was worthless, toxic, and ugly, someone offered to stand by me in the darkest moment I had ever had. She then introduced me to more friends - my best friends, ones that I will keep for the rest of my life, one of whom is now my roommate and one of whom is the Secretary of Spectrum, the club I am the president of. Finally, I had found what I had been trying, unsuccessfully, to find my entire life: a community.

When I walked into Cabrini University, I felt the same sense of belonging I had felt upon finding my friends in high school. To me, Cabrini is a family; it is a place where I learned to belong, where I found a sense of community strong enough that I could be myself. I will always have a family as long as I consider myself a cavalier.