If you learn anything in college, it should be about you.

Freshman year of college is full of new beginnings, new friends, new freedoms, new home new challenges, and the list goes on and on. But what happens when you aren’t true to yourself during this time? 

After six semesters in college, I have seen several people try to make themselves into someone that they aren’t. This can take many different forms.  For some people, it may be pursuing a career that they are pressured into, often by family.  Other people may try to fit into friend groups that do not encourage them as an individual or help

This is a time in your life filled with decisions to make. Most of these decisions affect the path we take for the rest of our lives.  It is very tempting to make decisions based on the expectations of others, what is popular in society, what will help us earn the most money, or what will make us appear successful in the eyes of others.  Each of those things are not necessarily bad, but people often forget to pursue things they love. If you spend your entire college career forcing yourself to be someone you aren’t, what makes you think you will find happiness and satisfaction in your career after graduation? I think it’s important for you to be honest with yourself and evaluate what areas you are gifted in, what you are passionate about, and what you want to achieve in your life.

No one should ever be ashamed of his or her passions and interests. Each of us have unique talents to help benefit others and society, what a shame it would be to hide it!

Obviously this is all easier said than done. How exactly can you practically learn to be yourself? It won’t be an easy process and will definitely require hard work and honesty with yourself.

I encourage others to take advantage of being at a small university like Texas Wesleyan. Your professors will begin to know you personally and can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses.  I’ve had professors do this for me and they pushed me to pursue the things that I really enjoy. It was a huge encouragement to use my passions in my career.  Professors want you to be the best you can be and want to help direct you.  Listen and be open to advice, in some areas they just might know you better than you know yourself.

It isn’t just about academics, but also the relationships you are in with others. In order to meet true, lasting friends, you must be true to yourself.  College is a unique time in life where you will be surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of people, and you are bound to find people like yourself. Being honest about who you are will attract similar people. Find people who push you and encourage your dreams and goals. 

As busy as this time in life may seem, it actually is one of the best times to pursue the things you are passionate about. Life will only get busier and you will have more and more commitments as the years go on. There isn’t a better time than now to give those talents a chance and incorporate them into your career. It would be a shame to give up on your dreams before you even get the chance to start pursuing them. 

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get out there.  Join clubs and organizations that you are drawn to. This is another way to meet others with similar interest. If you have an interest in something, shadow someone who works in that field or look for internships that fit along with your passions.

Make your time in college about more than maintaining a 4.0 and getting a diploma. Make your time about learning and discovering what you are meant to do.  College is an awesome time to begin the rest of your life. And I hope that you can start it by being you and pursuing what you love.