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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

If I were to interview my past self about what I would be like in college, I would have painted quite a picture for you: I would be a star student at Syracuse, majoring in English and dedicating essentially all of my free time to the theater program. In between my classes, I would sit in a coffee shop and read a book before my weekly singing lesson, then end my day by spending time with my perfect boyfriend: a Nick Miller clone who would also probably do theater or film or something artsy. I would dress alternatively with a heavy emphasis on pastels, and I’d party but not too much. I had it all planned out.

(How I saw the world.)

My past self would probably be pretty dismayed to hear that I am not that girl. In fact, she might even be angry at me because I am exactly the girl that she didn’t want me to be. There is no doubt that, if given a time machine, she would berate me with questions like these:

“why would you ever choose a college so close to home?”

From the time the word “college” started being thrown around at home, any mention of West Chester or any nearby school would make me dramatically wrinkle my face in disgust. My cousins, who I looked up to throughout my entire adolescence, had gone to West Chester and loved it, but I just couldn’t get behind it. I guess teen angst and my tendency to rebel against my well-meaning family were the main reasons why I wouldn’t entertain it. 

I thought that the further away I was from my hometown, the more I would flourish. This philosophy could not be any more untrue, at least in my case; even though I live thirty minutes away from my hometown, it feels like I’m in a different world. I worked hard in West Chester to establish the friends I have, the apartment I live in, a routine that works for me, and my identity. Old Cassidy would be surprised to know that the capacity to flourish isn’t dependent on how far away her college is from home or how low the acceptance rate is. It is dependent on her ability to adapt and change based on the cards she’s dealt. My past self didn’t have the insight or wisdom that I have now, even only a few years later, so she’d still hate me until her frontal lobe develops a little more. Oh, well.

(Like… How could you not fall in love with this beautiful town?????)

“you gave up theater? so you flopped?”

As you can tell, my past self had BIG PLANS for me. She was an all-in type of person who would delve into her passions, mainly theater. I helped run the drama club with my friends, spent my weekends rehearsing for the local show choir, and dedicated entire summers to starring in shows. I threw myself into dance and voice lessons, with a drive and a work ethic that mirrored a Glee character. 

(My past self would say this to me now if she found out I quit theater…)

Doing a full 180 away from the hobby that shaped my life since I was in fourth grade, consumed my free time, and defined my former identity is something that would FLOOR past me. Even when I first came to college, I auditioned for my favorite musical, only to not make it in after callbacks. At that same time, I ended up becoming closer with the girls who are now my best friends, so I didn’t even have time to be sad about a rejection I had previously feared happening. For the first time in my life, I was free from weekly rehearsals and a stifling, competitive atmosphere. It felt refreshing to realize how many people seeked out friendships with me outside of the theater realm that I was so previously shut-off from. If my past self knew I got cut from my favorite musical and then gave up theater, she would be so angry at me. She would have no idea that losing when I did was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It led me towards a community that embraced me. 

“you joined a sorority?”

Yes, former Cassidy, don’t freak out, but future you will join a sorority – and love it. From an early age, I fed into the stereotypes and misconceptions regarding Greek life because I didn’t personally know anyone involved in it. Because I didn’t know any better, I was completely anti-sorority. If I had to describe the rush process to my former self, I would probably give her a panic attack because she was not nearly as outgoing. She would probably think I got a lobotomy. I thought I wasn’t built for it, but I was so wrong. Joining a sorority built my confidence and provided me with a sense of inclusion I didn’t know I was lacking. 

“How do you come to terms with doing a full 180? Don’t you feel like you’re betraying yourself?”

My past self would hate me, and SO. BE. IT. Us as women change at such a rapid rate between the ages of 18-22 because it is such a major transitional period. During which, it feels almost like a mad frenzy to find out what clicks and what doesn’t. Many of us resent the person we were a year ago, let alone who we were in high school, because we grow and learn so much in that brief time frame. We may even try to hide who we were because we make ourselves cringe. 

Cringe is an inevitable aspect of girlhood. My past self would cringe at me, and I sure as heck cringe at her often. I believe that Taylor Swift said it best in her commencement speech at NYU: 

“Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable for a lifetime. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed cringe.”

Taylor Swift, 2022.

These queasy feelings and growing pains are inevitable, but we are in no way betraying our past selves by defying their expectations of us. Change is a sign of growth, so we shouldn’t hide from the past – we should embrace it because it gives us character.

Many of the things I do now prove my past self wrong, and it feels liberating. That doesn’t mean I don’t still carry parts of her around. And, the things that she would probably consider to be failures or losses, like giving up theater and choosing to go to a state school, were actually the best decisions I could have made for myself. They shaped me into the individual I am today. While I am still looking for that Nick Miller clone to be my boyfriend, I am more than satisfied with where I am now. 

Cassidy Komar

West Chester '26

Cassidy Komar is the co-senior editor and writer for Her Campus at West Chester University. She is a Secondary English Education major from Havertown, Pennsylvania. Her articles range from commentaries on music to satirical pieces about girlhood. She is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority at West Chester and loves spending time with her sisters. Outside of school, she loves going to concerts, shopping, and going to the beach.