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The Process of Establishing Identity

Who am I? This is a big question, possibly the biggest question we’re tasked with answering. It’s a vast, all-encompassing question of which there should be no deadline to answer. College is the time to ponder these “big questions,” but do we need to answer them by the time we toss our caps in the air to the tune of Vitamin C’s Graduation? I don’t think so.

College is the freest, most carefree you will likely ever be. There is truly no other time when you will have so few responsibilities yet so many opportunities. Students are free to try out any identity that peaks their interest without the pressure to commit to one in particular. The goal in exploration is to identify your desires.

I came to Boston College knowing exactly who I was and what I wanted. However, after a semester and a half, that self-awareness began to wane. I confused my own thoughts and desires with that of everyone around me, and I soon became lost. I tried to be somebody I thought my new classmates would like and think was funny, but I wasn’t being genuine. I spent the better part of second semester trying to convince myself that I liked this new me, but truthfully, I didn’t even know her.

I began people pleasing because I had lost sight of who I was before I got to college. Like a toppled jenga set, my thoughts and wants were in disarray. I took the summer to try to find myself again, and, thankfully, I succeeded. I was patient, and became reacquainted with my authentic self. I was once again able to determine what I liked and didn’t like, what I wanted, and how I intended to get it.

With so many options of who we can be, who we are can sometimes get lost in the mix. By trying on different personality hats, it becomes easy to focus solely on how we look in one as opposed to how we feel in it. Knowing exactly who you are is near impossible. Life moves, circumstances change, and happiness comes and goes. You won’t know how you react to these things until you encounter them. The only guarantee and the only sure thing for the future is yourself.

College isn’t a time to know who you are because that may change tomorrow. Rather, it is a time to figure out what you like and want. Figuring out who you are shouldn’t be the end goal of the four years spent in college. The goal, in my opinion, should be to keep searching for your passions while being kind along the way.

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