How to Be Your Own Person

Erin Ennis

When I was younger, I had the same dreams as every other 5 year old little girl. I wanted to be a ballerina, or a veterinarian, or a marine biologist. I wanted to have long blonde hair like my best friend Emily and, when I got a little older, I wanted to have the same figure as my friend Sarah. I wanted to be a member of the “popular” crowd in high school.

Erin Ennis, Assistant Editor

Let’s be honest: we all have these dreams. When we’re younger, conforming to the people around us is practically second nature. No one really wants to be “different” or “individual” because that is perceived as strange or unusual. You just want to be like everyone else.

For some reason, for a large majority of us, that changes in college. Choosing academic clubs over sports is just as acceptable as joining social organizations, Greek fraternities, and dance teams. Everyone has different majors and different dreams. Being “different” is suddenly in…and way cooler.

But, like I said, this is only true for some of us. Those of us who have grown up in college, rounded even, have gotten to experience this change from conforming to individualism. However, some people still haven’t. Some people still sit in that pre-high school “let’s be the same as person A” mindset, an aggravating and relatively sad occurrence.

Yes, it is fantastic to like the things your friends happen to like. It is a great way to bond, set up great relationships, and have conversational topics. But honestly, my groups of friends would be nauseatingly boring if we all liked EXACTLY the same thing. That is why I have multiple groups of friends; perfect outlets for discussion and varied topics. Some of us love gaming, some dance, some strange books, and other great actors (i.e. Christopher Meloni). There is no need to make yourself purposely like all the things your “friends” happen to like. Take my boyfriend for an example. He absolutely ADORES running. That doesn’t mean I like running, or I’ll suddenly take up running long miles. In fact I DETEST it. That is perfectly allowed…it actually adds to our relationship! By not allowing yourself to become an “individual”, you miss great opportunities for bonding over differences…not just annoyingly strange similarities.

Equally, don’t start doing all the things your friends enjoy doing just because you need to “fit in.” In the college atmosphere, this type of behavior is no longer necessary: in fact, its looked down upon! College provides the perfect outlet for people to do their own thing! Joining a club just because your friends are interested or, worse yet, consider it a huge part of their life, only makes you less of a “real” person. Personalities are lost in the humble and jumble to be considered “cool” and liked.

Let’s get right down to it. Conforming is a thing of the past. Trying to conform, much like the days of the now long-gone high school, only let’s YOU down. What is the point of becoming someone else? People are loved, hated, respected, and revered for the people THEY are, not for the people they attempt to copy. If your group of friends is going to “dislike” you for being you…they obviously aren’t good friends with to begin with. Continue shadowing all your current friends, and chances are they aren’t going to like you either. No one wants to be friends with a recreated image of his/herself. Learn to be your own person, stand up for the things you like (or dislike), and learn to appreciate the person you are!