One thing that has become apparent to me as a first semester college student is the question of identity. Who are we? Where do we fit in? What are we meant to do? You do not have to know the answers to these questions right now, or even in a couple years from now. I know I don’t. However, to those of you that spend your entire existence worrying about the answers to these questions, my advice is be a lost soul for a little bit. For those of you wondering what a lost soul is, chances are at one point or another, you have been one. If you have ever caught yourself thinking about where you are in your life, and constantly asking why, you have been a lost soul. If you have ever thought you did not fit in anywhere, and were completely content with it, you have been a lost soul. If you have ever taken a step back and questioned the way the world works, you have been a lost soul.
In modern society, we value answers and structure. There has to be a reason for everything we do, eliminating the curiosity that drives critical thinking. We do not want to ask ourselves these difficult questions, or be different because we associate being different with being alone, and being alone is a frightening concept. I am not saying to become a recluse and conjure up conspiracies about the world. I am saying to dive deep into the outside perspective, and do some serious self-reflecting. Get lost in your own thoughts, question yourself, and question others. It is when we challenge ourselves that we discover more about our self-image. Denis Waitley once said, “it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” The greatest part of this is sharing it with others. Sharing will open the floor up to more questions and more perspectives to consider, because in the end, the world is an endless black hole of questions. But your answers to these questions will determine the way your mind works and help you get closer to finding what people spend their entire lives looking for.
A great way to get started with this is to ask yourself why you dislike the things you do. For example, if you dislike participating in class discussions, consider why. Just to give you a hint, if your answer as to why is that you do not like being in the spotlight, that would be incorrect. Dig deeper. Maybe the reason you dislike participating in class discussions is because of the way the education system is. The education system tends to put informational learning above creative learning. Teachers teach what is on the test and children learn to memorize it for a test and then disregard it afterwards, all while sitting in a desk and staying quiet. You become aware of this, and you start to ask questions, like why is the education system like this? Has it always been this way? And finally, the two most important questions, how does this impact others and what can I do to change it? This is just an example, but there are millions of possibilities when it comes to questions and perspectives, and that is why it can be good to get lost in them. It is all about discovering how you think the world works.
Don't stress, breathe, and get lost in what the world has to offer. You might find what you least expect when you do.