Let’s talk about originality –– being unapologetically yourself in what sometimes seems like a world full of identical people. This is a tough lesson, and it’s something I’m continually learning and working at. However, it has become a priority in my life and a mantra of mine.
In high school, I usually tried to go with the flow. This meant doing what everyone else was doing as to not draw too much attention to myself because I didn’t have a solid grip on who I was or wanted to be yet.
But then I joined the yearbook staff. I absolutely fell in love with it, and I slowly started realizing that the type of work I was doing in class was the kind of work I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. Finding my passion helped me solidify my identity and who I was as an individual. I took hold of those roots and honestly never looked back.
When I was applying for college, I declared my major as advertising and public relations. I got the occasional backlash claiming that I couldn’t do much with this major or that I wouldn’t be able to find a well-paying job. I realized I was going to have to do what I knew I wanted to and ignore the doubts of others.
Coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln my freshman year, I decided to not to go through sorority recruitment. I knew a good amount of people who were and they were baffled why I would choose not to, but I didn’t feel that it was for me or something I needed to be a part of in college.
Throughout my entire freshman year, I was constantly asked what chapter I was in by new people I met. Once the news was revealed that I wasn’t in a sorority, it was usually followed by a surprised, somewhat disappointed look, like it was some kind of sensitive subject. I always felt like it was a condescending reaction and it made me frustrated.
Eventually I got used to it and just accepted the reaction, but it was important that I stuck to my guns and didn’t give in to sorority life just so I could feel like I was satisfying the norm or fitting in with the people around me.
I’m now over halfway into my sophomore year, and during that time, I’ve learned to live my life the way I want and prioritize what is important to me. I’ve been able to work at The Daily Nebraskan for the last year and a half. Over the summer I found a communications internship, debunking the theory that I wouldn’t be able to find a job. I also found a great group of friends right off the bat freshman year, despite choosing not to go through recruitment.
I encourage everyone to stick up for what they love and want out of their life. Don’t waste time trying to please or impress others. I’m not saying you should be reckless and ignore the feelings of others, but it’s important to keep your own interests as your first priority.
Why waste your limited time on things that don’t make you happy or don’t bring anything positive into your life? Above everything, remain true to yourself.
Senior engagement editor