If you'd asked me how confident I was back in August, right when I was moving into my dorm room amid a sea of stress and homesickness, I probably would have told you not at all. That's not an exaggeration in the slightest. Upon starting college, I've typically been a very reserved, quiet, and introverted person. I didn't like to make waves, I didn't like to speak up, I didn't like to draw attention to me if I could avoid it.
Now, I'm still introverted, still quiet and reserved, but over the course of the past semester, I've made a mind-blowing discovery: college has raised my confidence.
It wasn't the type of revelation I'd been used to while at school. Normally, I'm realizing that I had a homework assignment due or an exam to study for. A self-discovery was somewhat unheard of, all things considered. But I came to notice, the more I thought about it, that it was true. My time at college has actually raised my confidence in ways that I didn't even realize.
1. I am no longer afraid to speak up.
Maybe it's the discussion sections, but my time at college has coaxed me out of my shell. I've been aware that I have good ideas and intelligent things to say—I just never wanted to be the one to say them if I could get around it. However, over the course of the past few months, I've found myself
2. I can go places by myself.
I'm still working on this one, but I have definitely come a long way since the start of fall semester. I used to not be able to go anywhere—aside from classes—by myself, drowning in the constant fear of either getting lost or into trouble. As a young woman in a college town, this isn't an unfounded fear by any means, but it's been one I'm working towards remedying. Now, I've learned to be confident from the moment I leave my room to the moment I get back, whether I'm going to class or going out.
3. I no longer care about what others may think about me.
Insecurity is something that no one is immune to, no matter how confident they may be. I know that I've struggled with it my whole life. I've changed outfits countless times in the morning, I've acted a certain way, done certain things, all out of the fear of being judged for what I'm truly like. Coming to college and being surrounded by new people has changed this. I'm encouraged to be myself, and unapologetically so.
4. I understand that my dreams are mine and mine alone.
At this point in our lives, we probably have a myriad of outside influences when it comes to what we want to do and achieve, both in school and after graduation. With all sorts of factors considered, it can feel daunting to pursue your dreams out of fear of consequence or judgment. However, the most important thing to realize is that everyone has their own path in life, and no one has the authority to alter that path aside from you. Your dreams are your own, and no one can change that.
5. I can finally believe in my abilities.
Having the opportunity to pursue the classes and opportunities that are presented to me at college has allowed me to truly believe in my abilities. The success and accomplishments that have come from this have proven to me that I am capable of doing amazing things. Learning has become an adventure rather than a task, and everything I learn is another brick in the road towards my future and my dreams.
6. I am more optimistic.
If you're like me, then you might know how difficult it can be to be optimistic toward certain outcomes when things like insecurity force you to consider every negative one. These kinds of mindsets take time and training to overcome, but the confidence I have acquired in college has helped me see every day in a new, positive light. Not to say that there aren't bad days, bad moments, or situations beyond my control, but relieving myself of that kind of stress has truly made a genuine impact on my levels of optimism.
7. I'm more motivated to accomplish all sorts of things.
With the number of things that we have to do each day just to stay caught up in college, it can be pretty easy to lose motivation when tasks begin to pile up. However, maintaining a sense of confidence in my abilities and the potential outcomes motivates me to get things done to the best of my ability. Even if I don't finish everything, I can remain satisfied that I gave it my best shot and tried regardless. We all have motivation—it just needs a little coaxing to come out of its shell.
8. I feel more content with my life.
Life is full of wishes and wants, and sometimes the most difficult thing can be realizing what you have and being grateful for it. I'm always looking to the future, wishing I was a certain place or doing a certain thing, but adjusting my confidence level has allowed me the time to reflect. Reflecting on my choices and wishes and goals gives me the chance to be content with where I am and find a sense of peace while still working towards my dreams. I can take the time to just live in the moment, be carefree and content, happy and at peace without stress of what's to come.
Confidence doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen over a few months either. It's a constant effort, and sometimes it can be a taxing one, but what's most important to remember is that it's all for the better. Sometimes, when it feels like the world is against you, believing in yourself can offer you solace during those dark times. Not only that, but confidence is both a weapon and a shield that you can carry with you throughout your entire life.
It's only my first year in college, but after the transformation I've gone through since starting, I look forward to meeting the newer, more confident version of myself upon graduating. There are things I have yet to learn but they will all be worthwhile.