When I started college in the fall of 2018, I could not wait to tackle the new opportunities that surrounded me. Full of optimism, and slight anxiety, I was ready to see what this next chapter of my life had in store. As a first year college student, I totally milked the whole “Sorry, I am a freshman” phrase every chance I got; hoping it would ease the blow when I made a fool out of myself (throwback to the time I got on the bus the wrong way and the door nearly tore my backpack in half).
I quickly got into the groove of the whole college thing, but found myself feeling something I would have never expected; empty and insecure…about everything. I would second guess how I acted after meeting new people; hoping they approved of me, or I would overthink trying something new until I talked myself out of it. I always have had my insecurities, and I think I underestimated how much stepping into a completely new environment with new people would affect me. I talked pretty openly with my mom about how I was struggling with social anxiety, and how I would like to get back to the feeling of being comfortable in my own skin. I took up journaling and would really make an effort to start my day by writing down my goals for the day and reflecting on my previous day about what went wrong or right.
Along with journaling and having the ability to write down my thoughts (or fears) on paper, I also began practicing yoga and becoming more in tune with my overall physical and mental states. This practice has taught me a tremendous amount about the functioning of my body and how it is just as important to have a healthy mental state along with being physically healthy.
Stepping into a new environment and learning to adapt to a new daily life is overwhelming, and with today’s social media it might always seem as if everyone has it figured out or put together, but I can assure you…the pictures are not always what they seem. It is okay to try something new and fall completely on your face, and at times it is completely normal to be halfway in a bus and have the door shut on you (it will make someone laugh I promise). Learning how to be comfortable in your own skin and unapologetically yourself can be difficult for many people; I know I struggle with it to this day, but I am constantly working on being more confident in myself and my decisions.
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Legally Blonde”, and Elle Woods, the main character, does not let anything stand in her way. Whether it is her determination to get into Harvard Law School, or prove her worth throughout her internship; she makes it obvious that she is not going to change who she is to please anyone else. Her closing remarks at their graduation ceremony include, “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself,” and my goodness, if that is not the truth, I do not know what is. Take time for yourself, be kind to others, and most importantly; let your light shine.