This feels like the start of real connection with my peers. I’m starting to develop a real fondness for them. I recognize all the different personalities and accept them all. I peeked my turtle head out of its shell as we swapped stories, which made me feel uncomfortable but also forced me to expose my vulnerability. This has helped me to loosen my filter. I think the less inclined I feel to filter myself, the more authentic I can be in front of my peers. I’m finally starting to feel the social magnetism that I can share my story and be accepted for who I am. This is so liberating. As intimidating as it can be, I think belonging to a group helps me be my best self. It seems to unlock a larger capacity for kindness and empathy. In the same way, I think loneliness is one of my least favorite things. When everyone puts in the work, surprising fellowship is possible. This is a way of thinking I want to take with me to college.