Here we are. Back at school, classes starting fresh, both old and new friends coming into focus. With habits and schedules running widely until they settle into an organized routine, it’s easy to feel the stress of the school year already sinking in. New courses and expectations, new professors and walks to class. It’s the same place that you’ve come to love – or maybe are just now on the journey of finding your happiness in – but still there is that new air, that deep breath that somehow feels different. It’s important, in the midst of whatever stress and craziness, to remember why you’re here. And who you are or who you’re becoming. I see so many people, as they arrive on college campus’s across the nation, who suddenly start to change entirely. Don’t get me wrong, change is great. Most of the time. Change can mature you and give you growth and a sense of belonging – it’s apart of life. I think the best kind of change is the change that we don’t mean for it to happen. Like when we wake up at the end of a semester and reflect on how far we’ve come and all that’s different in our lives. The change that goes with our lives and who we really are instead of against it. It’s when we consciously change who we are that we can get into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, if you have bad habits and you want to consciously change them and be better, go all in. But if you find that you’re hiding your likes and your desires in life so that you can “fit in” with whatever group you’ve found yourself in, then the only thing that needs to change is who you’re hanging out with. Don’t be ashamed of the music you listen to or the clothes you wear or the color you dye your hair. Don’t overthink and alter your life so that you’re hiding from yourself.
That does, however, raise the question of “who are we, really?” What if we didn’t like that one artist? Or read all those books or watch the movie with that one actress that one time. How different might we be? How different might we dress or act? Would something as trivial as our favorite colors be different if we didn’t have that one person in our lives who loved it so much? This, I think, raises the point of inspiration vs. mimicking. Inspirations are great and having a role model is very important in life, but I think there’s a thin line between modeling ourselves after someone and then actually trying to be them. It’s great to take something someone else has and doing it on your own, but you want it to truly be your own, don’t you? We shouldn’t strive to be them. We shouldn’t want to be a copy of that celebrity or that friend or relative we look up to. Take who they are and the things you love about them and strive for your own being. Make sure you love the things you love – the colors, the clothes, the bands – because you love them, not just because you love someone who loves them. Challenge yourself to really figure yourself out.
Whatever that means.
As the semester begins this year, don’t worry about pleasing the people around you. Don’t second guess what you wanna say or change outfits to match the magazine cover. As confusing and crazy and intimidating as it might seem, figure yourself out now. Because you don’t want to leave college with all your friends going to all different corners and you’re left without your self-identity. Be sure of who you are. Be brave in all that you do. And don’t waste your time on anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.