Oh college, a place where stimulating academics and vibrant socializing meet. Whether it be your first year, or your last, it is easy to get swept up into all the “happenings” of college life but it leaves one wondering, how can you remain true to your beliefs, aspirations, and more importantly yourself? Well everyone experiences college differently, but I will tell you how I navigated through my first year without losing myself and what I believe in.
My first year was a mixture of class, work, meetings, events, parties, staying up late and eating foods that were not good for me in any way; the usual college lifestyle. Now I go on and on about my class work and my productive aspect of life but most people like to know about the fun side so let’s get into it!
In high school I was not the girl you would “hit up” about all the parties, nor was I the girl who showed her face at social events outside of school. It was not because I did not want or had never had the experience but once you get to high school parties were less about having fun and more about getting drunk, high, and grinding. Do not get me wrong, if that is what you do and it makes you happy, live your life, but I personally am not interested in the lifestyle and when I got to college that scene was all around me. As time went on people began to realize that when shots were poured I digressed, when a guy tried to “push up” on me I would decline, and when something went wrong my first instinct was to say “fudge.” Are you starting to recognize what kind of person I am?
Some people confuse my choices for me being sheltered or highly religious, but honestly it is none of those reasons. I PERSONALLY chose not to drink, smoke, curse, have sex and dress provocatively. Being at college all of these choices of my life were constantly tested. In the beginning, and even now, people tried hard to get me to conform to their ways but when I chose not to do something, even as passive as I am, I am head-strong and will not do it. You see the thing about being yourself is choosing to do what you believe no matter the consequences. When people offered me drink I politely declined. When people laughed at the words I used in substitution for profanity I smiled. When guys tried to get me to fall into their traps of underlying sexual motives I shut it down and cut off communication. Does that make party-pooper or nerd? Not at all, it makes me, ME. Even as a freshman I gained a lot of respect of people on my campus and my friends still hang out with me and we have great times together. Being as I am a sophomore now I have four quick tips I would suggest to any freshman or college student who are struggling with being whom they truly are on campus:
1. Know who you are. While at college you are learning yourself and coming into your own, but know your limits. Know what you are/are not willing to try and make sure you make it clear to the people you have chosen to be around.
2. Remain stern. It is hard to say “no” sometime but you rather people respect you for who you truly are, than the person you pretend to be.
3. Everyone is different. You are never going to find anyone who is like you to a T but there are people who are compatible with you, so look for them instead of the people you just consider cool socially.
4. Have fun! No matter who you are or what you get into just have fun and be comfortable in your own skin. No one knows you better than yourself and everyone needs a little release sometime.
So remember, just because they say college changes you it does not have to change you to the point that you conform to a lifestyle that is not truly you. College is meant to help you expand academically, socially and mentally, but people will not judge you for staying true to yourself. Most of the time people will respect you more and if they do not, do not sweat it, you cannot please everybody.
By: Shannon Alomar
By: Shannon Alomar