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What College Has Taught Me About Individuality

As a current senior in college, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I have learned throughout the past four years. College truly is a huge step into adult life for a lot of people, and I definitely felt that shift. Going into college I had never been away from home for an extended period of time. I was super close with my family and friends in my hometown and I didn’t know what to expect when moving away. I love my hometown and my family to death, but I definitely feel like I was lacking some independence in that environment.

I transferred to Illinois State as a sophomore because, honestly, I was not ready to get up and leave my home as a freshman, so I took that year and went to community college and figured out what I was going to do. Since being here I’ve met a lot of new people and made some valuable friendships, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that college is definitely a time where you are going to meet a lot of temporary people. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, it is something you have to realize since you are in such a transitional time of your life. Not everyone you meet in college is going to be in your life forever, and that’s okay!

Going off of that, I’ve always been a pretty anxious person who always looks for help or validation from others and this is definitely something I’ve learned to get past as I’ve grown as a person. Moving out of my parent’s house and living in my own apartment at school with some of my closest friends has honestly taught me how to be more comfortable with doing things alone as I grow into a young adult. The simplest things that I had to start doing by myself, like grocery shopping, getting my oil changed in my car, making and going to appointments alone and so on, are all things that I would have been scared to do by myself before living on my own and gaining some independence. These are things that every young adult has to learn to do at some point, and I feel like being in this new environment where I was kind of forced to grow up was definitely beneficial for me.

Learning to be okay with being alone and enjoying your own company is one of the best things I could have learned to do for myself. I’m the type of person that thrives off of other people’s energy and loves being around others, and college is an environment where you can get an abundance of that, but it’s also so important as you’re entering adulthood to learn to be okay with being and doing things alone. Finding time to be alone and relax by yourself on a regular basis is not only good for your mental health but it will also help you grow and realize that it’s okay to not always be with people or do things at all times of the day.

At the end of the day, I really attribute a lot of what I’ve learned about adulthood and being independent to the college environment. It’s pushed me to get out of my comfort zone a lot and made me much more comfortable with being alone, and that is such a big stepping-stone for me. I’ve learned to be okay with alone time and even find comfort in being able to do things on my own, which is something I would never imagine myself saying pre-college. Growing up is different for everyone, everyone does it at their own pace but I can definitely say that I personally did a lot of maturing throughout my time in college and it has helped me become the young adult I am today.

Carley Stone

Illinois State '22

Hi! My name is Carley and I'm a senior at Illinois State majoring in Journalism with a minor in Sociology. In my free time I love working out, hanging out with friends and family and shopping! I also love writing and I am so excited to be a part of Her Campus :) follow my ig! @carleystone_
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