How to Not Feel Like a Freakish Anomaly

Eager for a sunny spot by the window, I asked to sit with two female, traditional students in the cafeteria one day. From their glances, I gathered they possibly felt awkward about my sharing their table. Perhaps they thought I was a staff member.

Feeling out of the norm is uncomfortable.

On the days when loneliness stabs deep and isolation tempts, that’s when we non-trads need to get out of our bubble of self. It’s the only way to fight that yucky feeling of being … odd.

Try these: (Because I do.)

  • Compliment someone.

Pick anything: the shoes-laces, unicorn-umbrella, Star Wars backpack, anything. Smile! Toss a compliment out there. Instant mood lift for both of you. Guaranteed.

  • Thank a professor for the class session.

Education at John Brown University is stellar. The professors work hard to deliver what they do. And, they too are people who appreciate good, encouraging words.

  • Go to chapel.

Pay attention to the lyrics of the songs and mean what you sing. And, if you don’t want to sing, sing anyway. Praising God is life-giving and awkwardnes -displacing. 

  • When you’re tempted to throw a pity party…

Put away the streamers and the invitations made out to Me, Myself, and I; pick up your phone, and tell that someone congratulations on receiving the scholarship today.

  • Give yourself a break.

These emotions are normal. So are mosquitoes. Shoo those bad-boys away.

  • Remember this:

We’re never alone. Everyone feels odd and lonely sometimes. See if you can spy one out. Give them a smile. You will both feel better.

  • Lift up your eyes.

Remember why you’re here (or meant to be). Life’s not about age; it’s about seasons. Forget about your age. I will endeavor to do the same.


“…praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has called you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

– Colossians 1: 9-12

About the author

Tami Lykens

Tami Lykens writes for children and their big people. She is a full-time, undergrad English student at John Brown University. An idealist to a fault.

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