Oct. 5, 2015
In high school, my peers wanted to hear how I was going to star on a tennis team, have dorm parties and maybe even join a sorority.
But what really excited me the most about college was getting away from my dull high school routine and discovering my independence.
In college, you test your limits, find your strengths and expand your knowledge. I believe the connections you form here will last a lifetime.
But independence, while nice, is not the most impactful aspect of college.
From the classes you take to the clubs you join, college brings out your true self. It is the process of defining who you are.
It’s a vulnerable position to be in when you trust people enough to open up to them and express your ideas. People can sometimes shut you out or disregard your opinions, labeling you as weird or awkward.
But I learned that people will celebrate you for your differences and are more open to your ideas once you feel confident enough to let your walls down.
It was easy to be introverted in high school since there weren’t people pushing me to be actively involved outside the classroom. The focus was studying and getting good grades.
In college, while academics are still a priority, I have also joined groups who honor and respect each other and consistently challenge one another to find new ways each week to get involved in the community. I have discovered that I am more of a people person than I ever thought.
College teaches us that it’s OK to feel different because that is what makes us unique. We shouldn’t be ashamed of who we are. Instead, we should celebrate the differences that define us.
This is the time to explore new boundaries and test your limits. So don’t be afraid to take a stance on an issue, change your hair color, buy that outfit or ask a question.
Life is too short to not put yourself out there, feel vulnerable or be laughed at. This is how we grow. This is how we discover the strength that we never thought we had to carry on.
Too often in life, we prevent ourselves from trying something new because it is outside our comfort zone. Maybe it will be an experience that makes us feel a little awkward, or maybe it will be something we will learn and profit from.
No one knows what the future holds, but don’t let yourself become just another brick in the wall. Put yourself out there, explore, fall, get back up and do it all again.
Understand it’s OK to make mistakes because they are inevitable. Be reassured in the knowledge that you are in the same boat as everyone else. People are testing the waters and seeing where their choices will land them.
You are only limited by the fears and apprehensions that you let rule your mind. So, starting today, let the best thing about college be that you discovered something new about yourself.