I get it. It's hard to be yourself. To be everything you know you are when often enough, the people around us encourage us to be something we aren't. It's a tale as old as time, but sitting here shortly after my 22nd birthday, I can verify that letting your confidence shine doesn't get any easier with age.

Take myself for example. I've suffered with severe social anxiety my whole life. I was a shy child, a withdrawn teenager, and to this day I still lay in bed at night over-analyzing and thinking about how I could have conversed better throughout the day. I've always struggled with finding my voice, finding my confidence and finding my inner courage. That being said, I'm also a feminist. I believe that women are strong, and fierce and fire. As I've grown, and found myself through my passions and the good people around me, I've come to find that the feelings I had about the mightiness of women and the way that I thought about myself were quite different.

I was afraid to lead, afraid to fight, and afraid to fail.

Thankfully, I've grown to be comfortable in my own skin. And I'm here to give you one piece of advice if you are struggling with finding the power within yourself.

Be bold. Actually, no.

Be bold af.

That's a pretty broad statement, but it means what it reads.

Be bold.
Stand up for what you believe in.
You don't always have to agree with the norm. Offer ideas that everyone else is afraid to say.
Lead others; take the reigns and support those who follow.
Be loud. Sing loud. Laugh loud.
Stop apologizing for everything; don't let others belittle or talk over you.
Make your voice heard.
Do things even if everyone around you tells you not to.
Walk with determination in your step; you're going the right way.
Defend yourself. You're important, and no one should tell you otherwise.
Speak up when its hard, heroism isn't dead.
Remember that even if you have a partner, it's okay to still be independent.
Make a statement.
Take risks.
Turn heads.
Be bold.

I've struggled for years to find this confidence. And I'm still working on it. But I've taken the steps in finding ways that I can stand more firmly on my own two feet, and to find ways to contribute to and strengthen conversations and debates rather than to just take up space in a room.

College is hard, and it is so easy to get washed away in seas of people filled with philosophies and voices that you feel are louder and more powerful than yours. Always remember that confidence and boldness are powerful tools, they will get you so far in life.

Be bold.