College is a weird transition for everyone. As a sophomore in college, I still constantly look back on high school as if it were a month ago. News flash: It wasn’t. Figuring out how to balance college classes and live on your own can take a toll on anyone. In the midst of the chaos, I have always reverted back to one thing. That is, in college, I’m really growing up, which means I need to be true to myself.
As we’re meeting new people and experiencing new things, it’s easy to get caught up in the crowd. The University of Florida is a big school with lots of students, so distinguishing yourself as a unique individual is imperative. It seems simple. Just be me, right? I mean, I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years now. It isn’t that simple, though. It’s so easy to focus on things other than yourself when you’re in college. We’re constantly worried about our professors liking our work, hoping organizations will want us and redoing our resumes to paint the perfect picture of our accomplishments.
Aside from all of this, I believe being yourself is the most important thing. As someone who has a sarcastic and witty personality, I could have easily strayed away from this in college. Instead, I have learned to embrace it.
Just don’t worry
It can be intimidating to be your unapologetic self when you’re worried about what others will think. This is something that people struggle with, but you don’t have to. In our generation, social media and celebrities try to show us how to be a certain way. Whether it’s trying to be “trendy” or editing the perfect picture, these aren’t necessarily bad things, but it’s important to reflect on who you are.
As I said before, I have always been the funny friend. Making sarcastic jokes with a straight face is my specialty. At first, it was intimidating to meet people in college who knew nothing about my personality because I never knew if people would get me. I found the best thing to do is be yourself right away, because when you do, the right kind of people will react to you. For example, if I wasn’t myself when I first met people in my sorority, I would have never met one of best friends. After figuring out my personality, she realized we were extremely alike, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
Being yourself in a professional setting
One thing that I have struggled with is exerting my personality in professional settings. Going into interviews, I know that my personality can stand out, but I tend to get nervous and back down. It all comes down to nerves, which go away with time, practice and experience. During interactions with professionals, or even professors, I try to be someone they’ll remember — in the best way possible.
Because of my humor, I have to be sure I don’t come off as unprofessional while still showing that I’m an outgoing person. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, you still have personality traits that can be made known in all settings. Being yourself can actually get you noticed. Having an authentic voice is powerful.
A note to the haters
There’s something I’ve always been told, but it didn’t really hit me until I had experienced the past year and a half in college. Here it is: Not everyone is going to like you — and that is okay. It’s a tough thing to hear, but I’m beginning to understand it. When being your authentic self, you’re not always going to click with everyone. Not everyone will laugh at your jokes or relate to your comments, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It just means you aren’t similar. Situations like this need to be taken lightly, but it can be really hard to do. Even if you have the most bubbly personality in the world, someone may not appreciate it. The most important thing is to find people who like you for you (as cliché as it is). Surrounding yourself with the right people will encourage you to be yourself, which is the goal.
How I embrace being myself
As I’ve said, I’m often noted for my humor. A lot of people are funny, which is a great quality to have. I can make jokes all I want, but there other things I do to showcase who I am. It’s the little, simple things that really show off your individuality. I do this by not being afraid to embarrass myself. I have the type of personality where I can do ridiculous things just for the fun of it. For example, I have the most absurd sock collection. It’s such a small thing, but I often get complimented for my weird socks. It may have became an addiction with an overflowing sock drawer, but it makes me feel like, well, me. Finding out little ways to be yourself can make all the difference. You may not have a knack for sarcasm or an overflowing drawer of socks, but you have your own traits and quirks. Own it! This is who you are, so be proud of it.
The idea of being yourself is something we’ve all been told since we were young. I usually listened, but now that I’m in such a transitional time in my life, I really understand why it’s so important. There are so many ways you will thrive just by being yourself and showing others who you truly are. Everyone is unique and needs to show off those qualities and not just to those who we’re close to. I like to think I’m an authentic person and so is everyone around me. All we have to do is show that to the world.