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  • Sydney O.

The Search for Self: Balancing Newfound Independence

Although college initially presents itself as an academic ambition, many fail to highlight the mental and spiritual journey of self discovery. Whether that's getting an eyebrow piercing at the ripe age of 18 or exploring the diverse music genres of techno or punk, freshman college students express their newfound independence in unique ways. As a student entering their first year of college, you are frantically thrown into unknown territory full of wild experiences and countless surprises. If you are like me and solely lived through a sheltered, academic lens while people pleasing all the respectable figures in my life, starting college was an eye-opening realization. After surviving the years of high school cliques and pressures to attain exceeding grades, college unlocks new obstacles such as immense freedom without a guidebook for maneuvering this unlimited capability. Many opportunities will present itself like risky social atmospheres, intimidating individuals, and sleepless curfews all without the comfort of home and familial security. Throughout this mental and physical voyage, many find it inevitable to lose their identity or mentally drown with the world at the palm of their hands.


Academic and Social Readiness:

To prepare as college is right around the corner, surrounding yourself with trustworthy people and finding an equilibrium will promote healthy sailing of self discovery. While you may be stacked with homework assignments while anticipating frat parties on the same Friday night, staying organized and managing your priorities are key elements. Planners and designated study periods with your friends reduces the stress of preserving susceptible grades while arriving at that party on time. Especially with universities possessing insane social lifestyles, rejecting academics and falling down the rabbit hole of endless extracurricular activities produces dents within your scholastic career. Additionally, just remaining attentive during class and taking essential notes are small actions to increase your collegiate success. Without even realizing it, the smallest measures towards your academics will catapult your organizational skills and educational understanding. On the other hand, chasing those once in a lifetime memories at your prime youth are valuable reminders to give yourself an academic break and let off some steam. Without a planned, structured agenda, many lose emotional balance and welcome harmful mentalities which will introduce greater mental challenges. Although experiencing instability is a part of the self discovery process, monitoring your social and academic lifestyle will limit the repercussions and generate mental strength for life after college.


Self-Discovery and Virtuous Relationships:

As for finding your identity, whether that's searching for your signature appearance or passion towards your career, many tips and tools are helpful throughout this expedition. During this vulnerable, influential period of your life, this is the chance to experiment with new aspirations, styles, friend groups, music taste, etc. Along with the freedom to explore as you choose, you may end up making harmful decisions or forcing change to cope with this massive shift in your life. To overcome these moments of confusion, preserve deep, valuable relationships with friends, family, or your significant other who you can share personal discussions with. Simply discussing your wellbeing with friends contributes immensely towards mental health and creating a fluent path throughout any period of your life. By communicating your mental conflicts, you can strengthen your current connections along with preventing your thoughts and struggles from eating you alive. Additionally, battling the beauty and brawls of individual change only enhance your college experience while creating lasting memories. Not only are you undergoing the process of soul-searching but you are forming lifelong relationships and moments that outweigh the road blocks along the way.


Final Words of Wisdom:

While my voice of self-discovery and independence comes from a place of personal experience, there is not a single manual for navigating college, let alone life in general. Entering your first year of college signifies excitement as you enter a new chapter of life full of allure and pain. Each college journey will generate diverse outcomes and emotions however, gaining harmony between the academic and social aspects of your life will boost your first year. With the liberty of being on your own, greet the risks and chances with open arms while acknowledging your limitations. For the students entering their first year of university, seize the unforgettable moments with your loved ones and embark on your journey of self discovery!



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