I have been a college student for almost two months now, and I have experienced my own share of problems in that time.
Of course, the homework load is overwhelming at first, but once I adapted, I found myself completing my assignments. Yes, I miss my family, but I talk to them everyday and they fulfill my wishes by sending me photos of my dog.
No, none of these are the problems that I’m speaking of. The one I’m referring to is one unexpected, yet powerful: how do I stay confident in college?
First, let me provide context. As most of you already know, Pepperdine University is located in Malibu, California. Malibu is a location like I have never experienced. Not only are the views exquisite and the ocean beautiful, the people are too. There seems to be some sort of aspect they both have in common that compliments them so well. Being from Washington, I’ve found that my pale skin seems to sparkle beneath the sun and stick out in a sea of golden hues.
How am I supposed to stay confident in some place where people are more beautiful than I am?
Not only does this lack of confidence extend to my physical appearance, it extends to my abilities as well. You see, Pepperdine is full of students who are intellectually capable. By that, I mean that they are smart. Real smart. There are so many times when I find myself wondering how they have the skills to accomplish so much in so little time, whilst still maintaining quality work. I envy their ability to take things in stride while I am left struggling to keep up.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am far from home, and that has left me trying to regain confidence in a foreign place amidst foreign people.
There was something that my friend said to me many years ago that has stuck with me to this day. It’s difficult to recount her exact words, but I feel that I can encompass the message correctly. We are who we are, and we look how we look. Unless we go through extensive measures to use plastic surgery to change ourselves, that is not going to change. So we may as well learn to accept ourselves now.
I have heard statements similar to this before but what stuck out to me was the simple truth of these words. We are who we are, and there is no changing us.
I think that one of the reasons why confidence is harder to maintain in a new place is because we constantly compare ourselves to other people. We look towards beautiful people and we think “I’ll never be as beautiful as them”, and with that we deduce that we are not beautiful at all. But that’s not true. This is going to sound quite stereotypical, yet it is something that also stood out to me. A snowflake and twinkling lights are both beautiful, yet entirely different. Just because we don’t look like someone we perceive as beautiful doesn’t mean we aren’t as well, in our own way.
It is important to have trust. This comes with accepting yourself and your abilities. Trust that you were good enough to come to Pepperdine, so you are here for a reason. It may seem like others have themselves together much more than you, but the reality is that you have no idea what is going on in their lives. We each have our struggles and from that we each become our own.
I challenge you to look past your own fear and insecurity. Challenge yourself to see beauty every day, and with that see beauty in yourself. Trust your capabilities. Try your best, always. There’s not much more you can ask.
More than that, learn to love yourself.