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#WhoIAm: I Am More Than My Work

Like any other college student, I’ve got a lot going on in my life. Here are some fast facts about me: I’m a junior, I’m the editor-in-chief of this lovely magazine, I also run another student organization and I work at a bookstore. I enjoy all of these responsibilities, but lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m nothing more than my work.

I’ll be honest; I am a part of HerCampus, my student org and work at a bookstore for one end goal, to get my dream career in publishing. I do have a best-case scenario in my head; I’m doing everything I can to give myself the best chance at making it in a competitive indstury for which a good chunk of my English major peers also yearn.

But lately, I’ve been thinking, am I more than just writing and books? Because I’m constantly surrounded by them. I work as an editor-in-chief and writer here, I head a club about academic discussion on literature and I work at a local independent bookstore. Oh yeah, I’m a double humanities major too, so there’s just a ton of reading to do and papers to write, by the week’s end. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining at all. I chose to take on all these responsibilities because I care about them. I’m just feeling a little lost, is all.

Day in and day out, I’m juggling all my responsibilities. I have little time to myself, and when I do, I’m not sure what to make of it. Do I get ahead on all the looming tasks of the next day? Do I read for fun, even though my eyes could use a break from staring at a computer screen for hours at a time? Do I hang out with my friends, or do I call my mom? And why do I feel guilty if I do, as if I’m not being productive?

In college, we’re always focused on what’s next. On the first day of classes, we all go around telling people our names, majors and what we want to do in our careers, as if that defines us. Three years into college, those questions are not only a little tedious – let’s do a different icebreaker, please! – but also strip away the rest of our personalities. Yes, I am a double humanities major that wants to work in publishing, but that’s not the sum of my identity.

My majors and my work aren’t the only things that define me, and I need to keep reminding myself of that. Maybe you do too. We might be college students, but that’s not all we are. I’m also a young woman in my 20s who struggles to decide whether to go out with her friends or curl up on the couch with a book. I’m a young woman who puts family, friendship and loyalty above all else, who, at the end of writing this article, is going to call her mom. I love romance books and movies, yearning for the escape into a too perfect world. I am more than the labels college assigns me, and it’s high time I value who I am just as much as what I do.

Gennifer Eccles is an alumna at UNC Chapel Hill and the co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Chapel Hill. She studied English and Women & Gender Studies. Her dream job is to work at as an editor for a publishing house, where she can bring her two majors together to help publish diverse, authentic and angst-ridden romance novels.
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