Opinion | Self-love is imperative for the transition into college
October 22, 2019
You’re finally in college. You’re looking forward to meeting new friends, going out to parties and living on your own. Everyone says that these are going to be the best years of your life — but maybe it doesn’t feel like it yet. It can be so easy to get lost in the hustle of college life, but it’s important to remember that your daily tasks and activities are meaningless unless they’re contributing to your happiness.
Before you get to all of the new and fun things you want to experience, learning to love and accept yourself should be your number one priority. If you don’t quite know where to begin, here are a few tips to get you started on the long and grueling — but beautiful — path to self-love.
The first piece of advice might be the most obvious: Stop doing things that aren’t making you happy. When you allow yourself to get caught up in things that don’t matter to you, you might end up feeling like you’re just trudging through time instead of enjoying life. Remember that every second counts. By spending your time doing things you don’t care about, you’re wasting precious energy that instead could go toward doing things that bring you joy.
While you should focus on things that make you happy, you should also try to step out of your comfort zone. That said, you don’t have to overdo it. Everybody’s comfort zone is a different little space. For some of us, just being here is a huge step, so don’t feel bad if that’s all you can handle right now. As long as you’re always working on doing things that are helping you learn and grow as a person, it’s okay to move at your own pace.
On the other hand, it’s also important to spend some time by yourself. It’s nice to have people to talk to and hang out with to decompress, but don’t forget to take time to get to know yourself too. Up until now, you probably had family, teachers and friends who were always trying to tell you who to be and how to act. This is the first time in your life that you’re in charge of yourself. No matter what relationships you’re carrying from the past or the ones you’re going to form over the next few years, remember that you’re the only one who has to be with you forever. It’s good to learn how to be by yourself now so that you can be comfortable and content with yourself in the future.
In the same vein, find things that are important to you. We all have things that we love, things that make us happy and in a completely different category, things that are so important to us that they surpass any emotions. We live for those things. In college, there are so many more opportunities to discover and dive into what you’re passionate about than you’ve probably ever had in your entire life. Your energy can be spent on nothing better than something you genuinely care about, and there’s no better feeling in the world than knowing you’ve done something positive for yourself or someone else.
Last but certainly not least, embrace the things that make you who you are. A lot of us came from a high school where we felt pressured to fit in and be like everybody else. In college, all that goes out the window. We all come from different schools, cities, states, or even countries, so chances are you’re not going to find anybody like you—so stop looking for them. Recognize the things that make you stand out from everybody else and celebrate them. The diversity is what makes this community so beautiful, and every single person is vital to it.
The bottom line is that we are all in different places on our journey to self-acceptance and self-love, but where you are on that journey isn’t so important. What is vital is that you’re moving forward every day. These years will be some of the best years of our lives, but maybe not for the reasons you think. The biggest and greatest experience is inside of you, and it’s one that every single person has the ability to have. Self-love can be a difficult thing to achieve, but now that we’re finally out in the real world and having to figure everything out on our own, there’s no better time to begin.
Rachel is a freshman in DGS.