You are more than what you think you are

I stood on a desk in the farthest corner of the room, looking past the rows of heads before me. The room was hot and humid as students were herded through the doors like cattle. Heads leaned back and forth looking for tiny gaps between people where they could catch a glimpse of the stage. Despite the crowd and chaos around me, my attention was focused completely on a wooden podium and a man dressed in a snappy suit.

Last week, the University buzzed with excitement to see and listen to actor Giancarlo Esposito. As he spoke of his various experiences and offered up some inspirational advice, he said something that really resonated with me — you are more than what you think you are.

And this completely clicked.

As students at this University, we are all ten steps ahead of many people in life in terms of our education and opportunities. We are lucky. We are told we carry promise – that we can be somebody and bring something to society. But, to me, that’s not enough. That is just the first step.

Many of us are pretty well oriented with our majors and have at least some inkling of an idea of what we want to do after college. Or maybe we don’t. But regardless, we have an immense amount of prospects in front of us.

However, I feel like many of us are so structured in our thinking that we settle for the idea of getting a degree, having a job and that’s it. But like Esposito said, we are so much more than that.

We are more than a future employee. We are more than an accountant, a teacher, a doctor, a whatever.

Often times, I think it can be really hard for us to see our full potential. It is hard to see ourselves as more than who we already are or beyond what we are already doing. Some of our greatest traits and talents are never fully explored. Maybe it is because we never find the right outlet to express them. Maybe we don’t know what to do with them. Or maybe we don’t know we have them at all.

But if people never pushed themselves beyond their limits, we wouldn’t see all of the amazing and life-changing things that people have done in our world. There are people who have fought and overcome tremendous battles, created inventions that have saved lives, made discoveries that have changed the way we live and think about our world. And I don’t think these things happened because a person is born knowing they are going to change the world. It is a process of learning, experiencing and growing up.

If people never take chances and simply settle for who they are and what they do, then they will never see improvement. We need to constantly re-evaluate ourselves because we are always changing and are affected by new people and new experiences. And not even in terms of what we do, but who we feel we are. Essentially, our lives require as many updates as the iPhone.

There are so many instances where I have limited myself from doing something because I thought, “I can’t do that. That’s not me. That’s not who I am.” And because of that I was never able to find out what I was capable of. More recently, I have started going after things. I’ve taken on challenges that I never thought I would be able to handle. And let me just say, it feels good.

With all of this in mind, I urge students to dig deeper in their experiences here. We need to go beyond this mindset that we are here so that we can walk out with a job. While that is definitely a nice outcome and it is important in our long-term success, I think we need to push ourselves a little further. Being here is a platform for us to do something bigger and hopefully learn something more about ourselves. It would be a waste if we did not walk out of this campus as different people and with a different perspective than when we walked in.

Never settle for what you think you know about yourself. Keep driving in directions you didn’t know you could go and push your boundaries every so often.

You are more than what you think you are.

Nicki is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].