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Beyond Right and Wrong: How Morality Makes Our Identity

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

Who are you? Now, I don’t mean your profession or what you are studying, nor do I mean what you aspire to be. I’m asking, who are you at your core? If we peel back the fluffy layer of societal expectations and roles, what remains? What truly defines us? I reached the end of my teenage years last month and turned twenty, prompting me to ponder these questions. Adulthood is often described as an era where we ‘find ourselves’, but what does that mean? Well, I’ve discovered some answers to these questions: We are all mosaics of our values and beliefs, and a moral compass defines them. Our moral values are the bricks of the buildings we call our ‘identity’.

It is so easy to be cocooned in a shell, claiming that we are too young, not educated enough, or don’t care to start developing moral stances. Yet what time is better to slowly develop our values and take stances on moral predicaments than now? At this point in time, our brains are flexible enough to be molded and shaped by knowledge, experiences, and lessons. Our university years create an environment of diverse faces, backgrounds, and opinions. We have the opportunity to open our eyes to worlds beyond our own. So why not slowly figure out what you deem right and wrong? It is one thing to have an unpopular opinion, but it is entirely more dangerous to not have one at all. How will we be able to make decisions about our future partner, jobs, relationships, or how we want to raise our children without a moral compass? While these things may seem far off in the distant future, the work starts now.

We are our morality. Our identity is cultivated by the seeds of our morality planted to further grow into values and beliefs. If you don’t create a base layer, the building will crumble and fall. The same goes for our identities and lives. Now, more than ever, it is time to start building your identity brick by brick. Explore what you believe is right and wrong. Figure out what you value. Put together that beautiful mosaic that is you.

Leen Elshikh

McMaster '25

Leen is currently a third year student in the Origins of Disease Life Sciences specialization and is also doing a minor in Political Science. In her free time, she can be found reading a book or making jewelry for her small business!