Meet Kaylee. On Tuesdays and Thursdays this past year, I mentored a handful of Freshmen women at Texas Tech. In Christianese, I've been discipling them. Reading the Bible with them, working through their life stories, unburying some of life's joys and hurts, laughing and crying at all of Freshmen years' ups and downs, and watching a lot of The Bachelor with them. A few months ago I was hanging out with Kaylee on a Tuesday and she mentioned how college was different from what she expected, so I asked her to share some of her profound truth nuggets for future college freshmen.
I bolded my favorite part, because it's TRUTHHHH.
Initially, I thought that when people said, “College is where you find yourself,” it was just another cliché saying to try and excite me about continuing my education. Kind of like how everyone used to tell me that high school would be the best four years of my life. (HA!) On the contrary, though, I think there was actually some truth to that statement about college.
I thought that it would just be a repeat of high school. I didn’t know what to expect, but I assumed that there would be a status quo. You know, where the certain clothes you wear, music you listen to, and parties you attend determine whether you’re “cool” or not. Refreshingly, I discovered that none of those things matter anymore...
...at least not to me.
Coming to college means you are suddenly plunged into a new environment with no authority figures and expected to have everything figured out. When I was in high school, that was all I wanted – to get away from all the people constantly micro-managing my life. But despite wanting to make my own decisions, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I realized that I literally went from asking permission to use the restroom to having absolute freedom.
The realization that I could do anything, BE anything was both freeing and terrifyingly constricting. It’s almost as if there’s SO MUCH to discover about myself that I don’t even know where to start.
When you meet new people, and boy you’ll meet SO many, you suddenly find yourself trying to answer the same simple question. “Who are you?” Although this question sounds so straightforward, it comes with a lot of weight. No one in college knows who I was in my little hometown, what sports I played, which friend groups I was a part of, or the names of my ex boyfriends. Without all of these facts surrounding reputation, I realized that I didn’t spend a lot of time actually trying to understand myself. It was frightening to realize that I could not provide an answer to that question because I did not know myself either.
I still don’t know who I am, but even realizing that I do not know myself feels like a step forward.
I’ve learned that in this world, you and only you get to decide who you are. This means your likes, dislikes, beliefs, passions, hobbies, interests, ALL OF IT lays on you alone. For me, this means I need to try more things, figure out what I’m passionate about, and just discover myself.
I also believe that no one can take anything about yourself away from you, especially if you are confident in your identity. College forced me to separate myself from the tiny bubble of high school that my brain was stuck inside and discover a whole new side of life, and it’s something that I think cannot be described until it is felt and understood. I am so thankful for all the change that has taken place in my life already, and it’s only my second semester. My hope is that one day I’ll be able to confidently tell someone who I am.