Finding Your Own Identity

Have you ever struggled to answer the awkward icebreakers on the first day of class when asked to share something about yourself? Maybe you’re sitting in an interview or on a first date and completely blank when someone wants to know more about what makes you… you. This may be a sign that your personal identity has been placed on the back burner, perhaps to focus more on school and/or work.  

It isn’t a bad thing to immerse yourself in your education and career! However, as with all things in life, you need to establish a balance. There should be several moments throughout your week where you spend time on things that make you happy. When we were all 14 and walked into our basic physical science class during the first week of high school, one of the first things we learned is how energy cannot be created nor destroyed and there is a constant adjustment to obtain an equilibrium. We could have been a bit distracted popping pimples or texting our classmates to fully listen to the teacher, but even if science isn’t your thing, there may have been a deeper life lesson to take away from that lecture than we initially thought… 

Now, you may be asking yourself, “How do I do this? Where do I start?”. I came face to face with this problem last summer. I wanted (moreso needed) something to further develop myself that wasn’t all about my job and school. I was craving something that could be “my thing”. This commenced a few days of soul searching and rapid googling, but I finally stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up for improv classes! This ended up being exactly what I was looking for. I was nervous and a little shy at first, I didn’t know a single person and almost let the fear of failing deter me from trying. I thankfully ignored that little annoying voice in my head because it’s been 4 months now and I’ve loved every second of this new hobby of mine and met some really great people along the way.  

I’m encouraging you to also try something new that you can call yours. Take a class (improv, acting, instruments, sports, yoga, crafts, the options are endless), join a team, sign up for a club, go for a hike, start writing poetry. It could be something as simple as setting aside an hour every day to read a book (and no, not your $200 textbook). Discover what makes you happy and find time for it! 

To develop an identity based on yourself and not someone else’s teachings of who they think you should be or what you deem “traditional” is such a satisfying feeling. When someone prompts you with, “So, tell me a little about yourself,” — have an answer for them. An answer that isn’t your major and how you probably work in a restaurant. Break out of your shell, find your passions, and unapologetically thrive in them.  

Here’s to a fulfilling life of reaching our own personal “equilibriums”! 

Hayley Hawkins 

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