Fitting in as a Student of Faith

As a first-generation college student from a rural town and a young Christian, Destiney Cummings never would have guessed how well she'd fit in at Carolina.

When I was applying, Carolina seemed so far out of my reach. I created this image in my mind of an unwelcoming and pretentious environment that wouldn’t suit me. However, after being admitted to Carolina, all of that began to fade. On my first campus visit, I was in awe of the resemblance between Carolina and my hometown.


I felt like I had never left home; like this was the place I was meant to be.


When I finally moved in, all those negative thoughts about fitting in resurfaced. How would I find friends who shared my beliefs? How would I freely express my opinion? As a college student, how could I maintain my relationship with God? Then I joined InterVarsity. InterVarsity is an interdenominational Christian organization at UNC. There, I found solace in shared beliefs and welcoming attitudes.

InterVarsity also taught me how to interact with students of all ages from all different backgrounds and how to approach others, whether they were in the organization or not. It made me more outgoing, and I discovered that even though our beliefs were sometimes drastically different, the people I met were welcoming and engaged. At this point, the trademarks of who I am didn’t seem to be holding me back anymore; they were pushing me forward. I was proud to engage with students from diverse backgrounds and share my beliefs with them.

I’ve realized that being a student at Carolina isn’t just about GPAs and test scores, it’s also about bringing in your unique perspective and learning more about your fellow Tar Heels. In this way, you can simultaneously find friends who share your beliefs while also making connections with those who have different beliefs.

Written by Destiney Cummings, UNC ’21


Faith-Based Student Organizations

Carolina students come from a variety of religious backgrounds and faiths. Like Destiney, many choose to join one of the 40 faith-based student organizations on campus to continue their spiritual journeys.

Explore Organizations