Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." He takes us away from conformity because what makes individuals great is their nature -- their personality; conformity takes away personality.
I remember this quote sticking to me when I first read it. It was during the time when I didn't much of who I was. I didn't know what exactly made me happy. I wasn't aware of my true passions, seeing rejection letters as disappointments at that time. Much more quotes I've read talk about individuality, but Emerson's celebrates individuality; as time passed, I see why.
Who are we? Who am I, really? The stronger become stronger, but what about the weak? Are they destined to be weak forever? Should we get with how we are programmed, accepting that the real-world preferred the stronger?... But what if it's just a matter of how we perceive ourselves? Get with the program, but that shouldn't mean you should stop there: soar with it. I'm not programmed to be a doctor (I know because I wasn't happy), but finding what made me happy meant finding what I was meant to do.
We've seen growth in the world; women entering STEM and Asians being represented in Hollywood are some instances. If we limited ourselves and reasoned that we're just not good enough, that would be a mistake. We are destined to be what we want to be. Conform to societal values that make you a better human being (i.e. stay in school) but don't conform to societal demands that make you into something else.
I don't want to get into much detail of what I was like in high school. To shorten my experience in one, vague statement (sorry not sorry) "that-me" is completely different from the person I am now. The essential difference is that I've grown to be somewhat extroverted, a quality that's allowed me to grow more loving. I think what made this happen was that I wasn't trying to find a sense of belonging; rather, it came to me. I found a community through university, and that community welcomed me.
Time has passed since reading that quote. It's my last year being an undergraduate student, and it's safe to say that I have found myself. I found a happiness that taught me love (Ariana Grande's "Thank u, Next" will always be a fav).