Achieving Your Own Identity In College

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I just read a guest post on a blog I read now and then entitled, “Are You Trying to Live Up To Other People’s Values?”, and although the author spoke to people in various life stages, I felt her message was most applicable to college students. Turns out, the author, Ali Hale, writes her own blog for college students!

If you’re a psychology major, you may be familiar with Erickson’s developmental stages.  I’ll save the details for your psych professor, but the gist of the theory is that traditional age college students fall in the “adolescent” category and are dealing with “identity vs. role confusion”. What all this comes down to is that this is a stage in your life where you’re trying to find your self, discover who you are, and gain a sense of identity.

This can be particularly difficult when faced with the influence of all of the other people in your life. It’s tough to separate from the desires and opinions of those close to you. Don’t worry; it will get easier with time. For now, here are some tips to help you on your journey to finding your identity.

Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

If you’re feeling like you disagree with a loved one or friend, it can be hard to voice your opinion for fear of ridicule or rejection. Take some time to think about the worst that could happen. Chances are, it really wouldn’t be that bad, and you’ll probably feel a sense of pride in expressing your individuality.

Ask Questions

It’s very common for college students to take the word of professors, parents, and other trusted people as gospel. However, if you find yourself unsure, ask questions. Doing so will allow you to learn more about a situation, and obtaining more information will allow you to draw your own conclusions.

Branch Out

Is there someone in one of your classes whom you find interesting but wouldn’t ordinarily approach? Take a risk, and talk to her. Chances are you’re intrigued by her for a reason, and you’ll probably learn a lot of new things, as well as learning a bit more about yourself.

Follow Your Instincts

Along these same lines, you should always go with your gut. Maybe your instincts are telling you that this student in your class if worth knowing and might be more like you than your current group of pals.You know yourself best. If your gut is telling you something, it’s always good to listen.

College is a time of constant growth and change. Trust yourself and be open to the possibilities, and you’ll be just fine. Don’t stress too much, as this is also a time where you’re bound to make some mistakes. With practice, you’ll be feeling comfortable in your own skin in no time.


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