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Oct 14 2015
by Justine Kim

How to Maintain Your Identity in College

By Justine Kim - Oct 14 2015
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For most people, high school was a bubble. That bubble could have been a wealthy, white neighborhood, homeschooling or anything else. No matter what bubble you’re from, most incoming college students have the mindset of transforming themselves in one way or another. I know that I planned on going into college twenty pounds lighter (thank you Mom and Dad) but lol, that never happened. Whether your desired transformation is physical, emotional, or within your interests, it is still possible to change while still maintaining your identity.

What makes up your identity you ask? I had a hard time realizing what my identity was because as 18/19 year olds, how are we supposed to know what our identity is when we don’t even know what classes were taking next semester! After asking around a bit and consulting Google, I found that identity is essentially what makes you, you; what makes you the unique person you are.

Now, I go to a school with about 8,000 undergraduates, but some state schools have 60,000 people which can sometimes swallow you up. Because I’m in the same boat as a majority of freshmen, in terms of adjusting to a new environment, who am I to offer advice? Basically this is a letter to myself.

The three things that paved my identity in high school were my morals, activities, and friends. I’m not saying that these are the things that defined me, but my experiences and passions are what combined to make me who I am. In my class of 2,000 freshmen, I had started to feel as though I was losing myself, but what picked me back up was the activities I started to get involved in.

My way of preserving and further discovering my identity has been to continue to pursue my passions through my occupations. I continued my love for vocal music by auditioning for 10 of the 14 a cappella groups on campus, and by the grace of the a cappella gods I found my place with "Significant Others", the only all female group on campus. Activities are how life long friendships and relationships are built, but if you’re not into being involved in your university’s extracurriculars, or the opportunities just aren’t there, it’s still possible to find your niche through a solid group of friends. Friends made throughout college are different than the ones you made in high school because you’re constantly breathing the same air and living in the same area. I made some of my closest college friends so far, with my welcome group and my floor-mates. College is a time for evolution but no matter how much you change, and/or want to change, look within yourself and find the key things that make you, who you are.

Lead Image Credit: Lady Gaga via Twitter

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Justine Kim - Northwestern University

Justine Kim is a freshman at Northwestern University. She is currently Undecided and spends her free time reading self help books, eating dairy free froyo, and listening to jazz EDM. She also has a passion for social justice and politics, however, can't make up her mind about the 2016 presidential candidates. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jkimmy7.

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