The best way I could describe the first semester of college is by comparing it to the first time I rode the bus by myself in elementary school. I got on the one that all of my friends did, which turned out to be headed nowhere close to my neighborhood. I ended up being the last one on the bus (besides the bus driver) and my mom had to pick me up on the street corner. Yikes.
It's awkward and it's embarrassing. And most of the time you have to look around at other people who look like they know what they're doing so you appear like you have it all under control too. In that case, we start this subconscious cycle of making our decisions based on what the people around us are doing and not thinking for ourselves, without even realizing it.
I know how this cycle goes because I went through it personally.
The first month of college, I found I was straying away from the person I really am, little by little. With this, I realized the only time I was being my true self was when I was in complete solitude, with no one to impress or fit in with, which was extremely disheartening.
The concept of transitioning into college as a whole is strenuous and demanding considering it's the first time we've ever been on our own, with way more difficult schoolwork, and so many other changes. However, I found that staying true to myself despite the circumstances or influences was by far the most challenging thing of all.
I don't like to live with regrets if I can help it because life is too brief to look back and wish we had done something different. But one that I do have, is trying to be someone that I'm not to fit in with everybody else. That being said, here is some inspiration for staying true to yourself in a place surrounded by so much change. College.
1. There are LITERALLY 30,000 people on campus...
and 7 billion on this entire earth! The first order of business is coming to accept that not everybody is going to like you. This is entirely easier said than done, but once you realize that there is no humanly possible way to get every single person you encounter to want to be friends with you, the imaginary pressure you put on yourself will suddenly disappear.
2. Try not to be embarrassed about your qualities that make you unique and individual from everyone else.
This is a personal thing that takes time to get the hang of, believe me, but realizing you are who you are for a reason is so important. Some people might not be accepting of your quirks and that's okay, life is too short to apologize for being yourself.
3. Weird is good.
This leads in from my last point. If the people you are surrounding yourself with put you down for the things you enjoy, why would you want to be around them at all? True and genuine company will appreciate exactly who you are. This is something I wish I would have grasped earlier in life. If you value people like they value you, being yourself, saying what you want to say, and doing what you want to do shouldn't affect the relationship, and if it does, rethink it.
4. Nobody is going to remember that you didn't go to the party.
Seriously, if you are going to be friends with people in which you really have to consider if skipping a social function is going to affect your friendship, don't. Do whatever you want. Skip the group hangout, go watch How I Met Your Mother reruns by yourself and do a charcoal face mask. It literally does not matter.
5. Solitude is bliss.
One of the best ways to keep inner peace and stay in tune with who you are is occasionally spending time by yourself doing things you enjoy like going to hot yoga or grocery shopping alone.
It takes everybody their own amount of time to find out who they are and what they want to do. College is a perfect time to figure this out if you haven't already due to the multitude of different faces, views, and ideas.
I'm not saying stray away from other people's ideas and influence at all costs, but don't let this time of transition and change keep you from being who you really are just to fit in with the crowd. Everyone is unique and different and that isn't something to be ashamed about, celebrating our differences and our individuality is key.