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

Growing up in a small town has its ups and downs. Being in the comfort of your own home and in a well-known environment feels extremely secure. However, it can also prevent one from stepping out of their comfort zone and experimenting different ways to show their true personality. As we all try to find who we are, the ability to confidently express how we feel inside with others is important, but in reality, it’s easier said than done.

The last few months at home before the move, I was having a hard time figuring out who I wanted to be in college and who I was at the time. I felt like I was trapped in a box with everyone else’s perception of me and I needed to break through those walls to find my own self-perception. Once I moved to Berkeley for college, it was an exhilarating feeling.

Walking around campus, I felt like a brand new person filled with so much opportunity and new first impressions. After moving into my dorm room, I implemented healthy habits I’d always wanted to try but never got around to because I was worried about being judged by people who weren’t used to that side of me. I no longer had to restrain myself from trying new things or even exploring within myself. 

The ability to be whoever you want can bring about so much confidence. I’ve been able to try new outfits and fashion styles that people didn’t know were even out of my comfort zone, and strangers on the street will think this is just my regular daily wear. I’ve also tried new makeup looks, fun hairstyles, and even a more confident walk.

At the end of the day, we’re all in a transitional phase from high school to college, and it can be inspiring to reinvent ourselves without shame. Change is not always easy, but knowing something better is waiting for you at the end of the process is such an exciting feeling. I can’t wait to see who I’ll become and how much I’ll grow in the next four years. I’ll forever cherish my high school memories and who I was, but I’m really loving this new-found confidence.

Nicole Gonzalez

UC Berkeley '25

Hi! I'm Nicole and I'm a first-year studying Environmental Sciences. I have a passion for journalism, environmentalism, and animals!