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How I let go of my “high school self” in college

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

For many of us, high school seems like the most important time of our lives. A lot of defining moments in my own life happened in high school – my physical health was at its best, I had many friends and a few romantic relationships, I was busy with dance classes and clubs almost every night, and everyone in my family was happy and healthy. However, I was extremely shy and I worried so much about what others were doing – what clothes they wore and how I could fit in with the popular crowd. Once I got to college, it was hard for me to let go of these mindsets. Here is how and why I changed these mentalities throughout my college career:

College was a very long and hard transition for me. I felt unprepared right when I arrived. As an introvert, I felt like I didn’t bond too closely with my roommates or the other people on my hall, and I knew I didn’t want to go out to parties like everyone else seemed to be doing. I would think I was doing something wrong and not taking advantage of being at college if I didn’t make an effort to talk to new people, so I would do everything I could to be accepted by others, like going to those parties and dressing differently than I normally would.

After feeling this way for a couple semesters, I decided I needed to change my mindset on things. I didn’t want to force relationships with people who I knew didn’t have the same priorities as me, and I wanted to start seeing a positive change within myself.

Beginning in my junior year, I decided to take ahold of my mental health and focus on my academics and maintain relationships with people back home. COVID made me realize that I need to focus on myself and what I need to do to keep myself happy. I wanted to start thinking about my future, so I began researching different job opportunities for post-graduation and nailing down where and who I want to live with in the future. I joined new clubs related to my major as well as ones that interested me personally instead of ones that I thought were popular. I started exercising more and eating healthier, and I’m devoting time to my hobbies like reading, writing, and my faith. I surround myself with people who lift me up and whom I can trust. I feel more confident in my appearance, too – I wear what I feel comfortable in instead of focusing on the new trends. As a result of all of these things, I’m finding my shyness and insecurities from high school are starting to finally drift away!

College is full of so many different types of people, yet I don’t have that large group of friends like I did in high school. And I don’t need one! I know what kind of person I am now, and recognize that my needs since high school have changed and so have most others’. I’ve learned that you won’t let go of your high school self if you keep trying to do the same things you did then – start taking ahold of yourself and look at the big picture, and you’ll find that your true self will eventually start to show itself.

Hi! My name is Delilah Orazi and I am a junior elementary education major at JMU. I love all things Disney, visiting coffee shops and bookstores, and hanging out with my cats.
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