Finding identity within the college experience

Published by adviser, Author: Danielle Swezey - Commentary, Date: November 6, 2014
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College is a time of transition. We attempt to shed the skins of our juvenile high school personas and are thrown into the real world to fend for ourselves. It is in this time that we must decide who we truly are. We are all born into cultures, families and communities with certain values we naturally inherit. However, this time is especially unique in that we have to revisit those inherited values and decide for ourselves what to believe, or what to value to decide who we truly are. Simply believing something because our parents or teachers do is no longer a justifiable option, and it is at this time we truly begin to shape what we stand for. 

There is not a single day that I’m not asking myself “who am I?,” now more than ever that the classes that I am currently taking prompt me to identify who I am from three different standpoints: philosopher, educator and advocate. Here is what I’ve chosen: I identify as a plus-sized, straight woman. I am called mommy by several of my younger peers for my overbearing maternal instinct and passions for knitting and baking. I am a strong advocate for early childhood education and human rights for all. I am fairly introverted with the exception of a small group of friends who I know very well. My favorite flavor is peppermint. I believe in love. I know that the world is generally a good place only if you decide to put some good into it yourself. These traits are as much a part of who I am as my race, gender, and any defining factor that society chooses to associate with my being. 

Several of these traits have become well-defined over my past three years here at SRU. It is true when they say that your time at college is the best time of your life because it is the beginning of true experience. It is the time where we start looking into our future career paths, extend our interests, maybe find the person who we are going to marry. There are points from this semester when I realize that I missed out on opportunities that had the potential to shape my life, albeit in a minor way. My advice is this: expand on your interests. Go see that show put on by the theatre department. Ask your professors for a research opportunity in your field. Go to a party, if that’s what you need to do. The majority of us only have four years here. Now that I’m nearing the end, trust me when I say it flies by faster than you think. 

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