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Learning about yourself inside and outside the classroom

By Riana Braselman
On March 16, 2017

College can be a time where we, as students, become more educated by learning about ourselves and the world around us. We can grow as individuals exposed to new experiences and opportunities unique to life on campus. 

It also may be many of our first times experiencing stress in a more intense way than we’ve known in high school. The culprit could be many different things. For example, someone could be coming to college knowing absolutely no one and this could be a new form of social pressure that they’ve never experienced in the past. College also presents us with more advanced material and concepts academically, causing many of us to spend more time studying than ever required in high school. 

All of these stressors and positive interactions may have caused us to become more aware of those around us as we mature or college may have caused us to learn about the darker sides of ourselves we didn’t even know were there. Personally, I have found that college has caused me to become a more selfish person due to the amount of focus and time required to stay successful in college. 

I have definitely seen a change in my character since entering college. My personality thrives on helping others and being generous. Doing something good for someone else is when I am feeling most fulfilled. Many times I have found that in college I have to pass up opportunities to help individuals, strangers, friends, family, even myself, in order to stay on top of my academics or work. For example, there have been instances where I have to choose to complete an assignment for class instead of visiting and talking with a lonely friend. In this way, I have slowly found myself disconnecting from my morals in some ways. I find if I disconnect, I don’t have to hold myself accountable in that moment and feel guilty that I have chosen say schoolwork over a friend’s needs. Realizing that I am disconnecting from the very values that I feel make me who I am is sort of a scary thought!

So, I figure, being able to acknowledge this change in me is a good first step in tackling it and improving what I perceive to be a problem. I don’t like this growing quality of selfishness inside of me. Like I mentioned earlier, college is a time of growth whether it’s negative or positive. College is absolutely a time of new opportunities and in this way, may open up ways to help others that haven’t been presented to me before college. For example, the age ranges and cultural diversity are drastically different in college than it was at my high school. So, for me personally, I have come across new types of emotional or social problems that I can help my friends through. The university itself also has clubs aimed to help the community that are available to me as a student to join that didn’t exist on a high school level. Additionally, college has given me a new amount of independence that I didn’t have in high school; if I use my time wisely and effectively, I can use this to my advantage, giving more time and caring attention to those around me. 

 In discussing this, I also want to encourage fellow peers to take some time to look at themselves and maybe examine how college has affected their character. “What am I learning about myself in college? Am I becoming the type of person I want to be? If so, what are some qualities in myself I am proud I have acquired during my time at university? If not, what are those qualities I don’t like and what can I do to maybe guide myself in the direction I desire?”

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