As another semester ends and I prepare for my senior year, I consider how long it has been since I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. Within those three years, I have noticed a transition; and I feel more “myself” than at any point in my life. For example, my taste in music has expanded. (Adele, Drake and OneRepublic all have a home in my playlist.) I also dress a bit differently. (There are currently a number of ripped jeans and high-top sneakers in my wardrobe.)
Above all, my convictions are stronger. I am undoubtedly convinced that what we do, say and think defines our character whether we are alone or in the presence of others. Now, I realize the young woman who walks across the stage in 2014 will be a refined version of the one before; and I ask myself:
Does anyone truly change, or do we all reach a point at which we become who we always were?
In the beginning, we are without a voice. We are not capable of speaking for ourselves; nor can we walk on our own, so we are carried. We have little experience to draw conclusions. Thus, our opinions are formed by those who look after us.
Time passes, and we walk in the ways we have been taught. We come across people who did not learn as we did, and we either respect, accept or reject their views entirely.
If we are fortunate, we meet others who understand our beliefs and believe in their worth. A bond forms, and friendships are made. We no longer doubt if there is a place where we fit in.
Confidence develops because we know that when we speak, someone hears. We recognize that we have talents and wonder how to use them to our advantage. At our best, we imagine what they can do for others.
Since day one, we have been changing – progressing. Who we become can be measured by the sum of what we are taught, have experienced and how we allow each of these things to influence us. Ultimately, we become who we have always had the potential to be.