Victoria Gasca is a junior, and this marks her third year in newspaper. Her favorite part about newspaper is playing a role in making the campus well-informed....
Photo / Victoria Gasca
Take the time to figure out who you are
October 17, 2019
I have long known the power that words carry, but even so, sometimes their impact commands sheer awe. Such was the case when my friend uttered three simple words that launched me into a journey of self-exploration.
“Who are you?” she asked pensively.
Speechless, I fumbled for the answer within my head but found none. The only response that came to mind revolved around school and extracurriculars. Did the sum of my parts amount only to what could be written on a résumé? Had my personality been stripped to make room for an endless stream of accomplishments? Above all, the realization that I could not communicate who I was rightfully caused a feeling of distress.
This internal crisis largely originated from my current stage in life. Adolescence acts as a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Thus, the teenage years mark a period of molding into one’s personal variation of the ideal human being. With such a daunting prospect looming ahead, it can be all too easy to set aside the present in order to exert all energy into acquiring a never-ending list of achievements that are marketable to college admissions officers and employers. Yet, it comes at a cost: profound preoccupation with the future ultimately negates the present and causes an underdeveloped sense of self.
The remedy requires much rewiring and reevaluation and is by no means a quick and painless process. Were it so, the vast majority of young people would be completely in touch with themselves, and I could have answered my friend’s question without a prolonged inner dialogue. To find a conclusion, I stepped far beyond the confines of my comfort zone. I spent hours upon hours, days upon days, even weeks upon weeks musing – mainly through writing, communicating with others, and reflecting on the past. It required me to clearly delineate what I value and desire from what society had engrained in me to value and desire. I was made to be vulnerable, to explore my fears and the reasons behind them. I confronted my crippling character flaws and sought the means to mitigate them. Most striking of all, I recognized my own power in both shaping my own life and improving others’. Certainly, it was draining and complex and time-consuming, but the greater clarity and unparalleled satisfaction that arose undoubtedly outweighed the effort required to reach that true self-understanding.
A significant attribute of finding oneself is that it is not a solitary undertaking, nor should it be. By involving others, accountability plays a role in ensuring continued progress. Moreover, patient and kind encouragement fuels self-betterment and strengthens relationships.
Life cannot be enjoyed to the fullest without intrapersonal familiarity. Contact loved ones immediately, ask them who they are rather than how they are, and embark on a life-altering discovery of what’s within.