We all know the importance of confidence. It's what fuels us to do big things, to step out of our comfort zone and into opportunity. But sometimes, maintaining that confidence can be tough when we find ourselves surrounded by peers who seem to be more successful than us. Before we kick off this school year where we're graded on our performance, judged by our looks, and rated based on a certain status, I think it's important to look inside ourselves for our inner confidence.

Don't Compare. Comparing yourselves to others almost always has a negative effect. Whether you think you're less or greater than someone, you're wrong. The many, many layers that make up other personalities, circumstances, and statuses have nothing to do with your own. We're individuals for a reason. Which brings me to my next point…

Be You. The easiest way I've found to gain confidence is to be 100%, unapologetically you. I know we hear this a lot but I feel it's worth the reminder. Especially for the freshmen and new students on campus, never feel like you have to dim down who you truly are just to fit in. Besides, you don't want to start the school year as one person and end it as someone completely different. Being true to yourself not only sets a precedence for others you meet but can also change your own perspective of yourself.

Meet People. For us introverts, it may seem daunting to just walk up to people and introduce yourself, especially when people can be so judgmental. But when you've done it once, the next time is a whole lot easier. Meeting people can give you a sense of belonging. If you're just starting out at a brand-new school, going up to random people is what can help build the base of your friend group. From there, it's smooth sailing because now you've got your hype crew. And that's a plus in almost any social setting.

Change Your Mindset. It's hard to expect positive when you're not thinking positive. One thing I've noticed is that confidence (or the lack thereof) always shows. If you don't like the way your hair turned out, strut as though you meant to have those strands out of place. If you're not positive about yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be? The best way to be positive about something negative is to fake it 'til you make it. Eventually, you'll realize that something might not even be that big a deal for you to worry about in the first place.

Remember that confidence can take you very far in higher education. It can be what determines you getting a certain job, making the right connections, or even getting that 96.8% bumped up to a 97%. Stay positive, be confident!