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Stop Sacrificing Your Self

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Stop Sacrificing Your Self


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By Colette Nolan

 

As a freshman at Fordham two years ago, this time of the semester was difficult for me. I struggled to form any solid friendships during my first semester of college. The sudden and complete changes that occurred when I moved from my relatively small town just outside of Philadelphia to Fordham threw me for a loop.

I decided to try to force myself outside of my comfort zone in an attempt to reinvent myself that did not help me at all. Instead of feeling good, I started to feel as though I was putting on an act in an effort to make friends. I became very introverted for the better part of the semester and was almost convinced that I would never find a group of friends to call my own.

This discomfort led to several months of unhappiness and a general feeling of isolation. Only when I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t was I able to create my own little “Ramily.”

Generally, college is seen as a period of new beginnings. However, these new beginnings don’t have to make you feel entirely unrecognizable. It may seem exciting to start over at a new school with a million new possibilities laid out in front of you. Of course you should try new things in college, because you never know what you might like. But attempting to reinvent yourself completely is no easy feat, especially for your mental health.

By the end of the first semester of my freshman year, I had become dissatisfied with the way my attempted self-reinvention had panned out. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t because it wasn’t a realistic expectation to set for myself.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s extremely important to be yourself when you’re looking to make friends in college. Otherwise, you may end up surrounding yourself with people you don’t really get along with beyond the surface level. The only way to forge deep bonds with your peers is to be honest, both with them as well as yourself.
College, and even the “real world” beyond graduation, has amazing opportunities to branch out and meet people who are different than you.

However, this opportunity sours when we spend more time trying to adjust our personalities and self-presentation rather than simply enjoying the variety life has to offer us. We need to stop sacrificing our true self for the sake of fitting in with the crowd we think we should be a part of and focus on finding the people out there who will appreciate us for who we are.

When we attempt to abandon the facets of our personality that act as the foundation of our identity, we can become unmoored, which can have a devastating effect on our mental health. College is already confusing enough without attempting to put yourself through an identity crisis in order to curate your “ideal self.” We should focus our energy on classes and clubs, rather than the minutiae of how others perceive us and whether or not their perceptions of us are the ones we want them to. Holding this kind of mindset can lead us to feel as though we are acting our way through every interaction with another person.

It’s ultimately the responsibility of each individual to choose whether or not they want to change things about themselves. Our true self should never be compromised in the pursuit of a fleeting desire to conform to a certain expectation. Your true self is who you really are, and only when you embrace it will you find others who embrace it too.

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Fordham University's Journal of Record Since 1918
Stop Sacrificing Your Self