Life is a constant cycle of ups and downs, each action we make has its own set of either rewards or consequences. In my own life, I grew up focused on family and the importance of staying close to those you love. While growing up this way taught me many valuable lessons about love and treating others with respect, it has also sent me into a downward spiral of constantly placing myself last.
Anyone who truly knows me realizes that I seldom think of myself. If I am having a crisis about what to major in or what I plan to do with my life after college, but my friend is stressed out about a test, you best believe I will drop everything to make sure they don't burn out. I have left events, stayed behind to help sick friends, and have made many Starbucks runs just to make those I love happy. What can I say? I've been a people pleaser since birth. There is nothing wrong with being a people pleaser, but lately, I've realized that my yearning to make everyone around me happy has gotten out of hand.
Moving to college has shaped me in more ways than one, even in just a few months I have been here. One of the lessons I had to figure out on my own was that it's okay to be selfish at times. If I have a really difficult test, but my friends ask me to go out with them, saying "no" is okay. In fact, it's not being selfish; it's being responsible for myself and the education I'm paying for. The beauty of putting yourself first in certain situations is that there doesn't even have to be a reason behind your choices. If you don't want to hang out with friends because you simply don't want to, that's okay. Sometimes being selfish is a good thing.
While I have put myself first in smaller instances, I have also tried to implement this mentality on a larger scale. College is where you can make yourself into anyone you desire. It truly is a time to reinvent your image and be who you strive to be. And although I think my ambitions are valid, others I know would disagree. In high school, it used to upset me when my aspirations and interests were belittled to nothing but a silly dream. This didn't stop me. My dream is to pursue journalism, and I am working toward that goal because it's what I want. Others can have their opinions about what I'm studying in college, but it ultimately rests on me to shape my future. I am the one in charge of my life, and realizing that I don't have to make everyone around me happy has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding realizations to grasp.
With every day spent creating my future, I feel more confident in myself as a person. I am a loud friend, the punny friend, the girl who laughs a little too much - and that's okay. Making those around me happy and being sure I am well-liked by everyone I encounter has been gradually easing its way down on my list of priorities. This doesn't mean that caring a little bit more about myself and my well-being isn't difficult, but it's becoming increasingly easier to put myself first sometimes.
So, take that leap. Take all the risks you desire if it will benefit you in the long run, and don't let others come before your dreams. You might just thank yourself in the end for doing so.