Before I got to university, I had this idea that I think a lot of us have, the idea that once I would be done I would have found myself. I don’t know exactly what that meant but I went with it. There’s this preconceived notion, which I hypothesize is from the movies, that university is a time where we get to know the most about ourselves. By going abroad, university for me meant being away from my family, my friends but mostly being away from who I knew myself to be.
In high school, I was the cheerful goofy girl with maybe too good of an English accent compared to my fghench (french) classmates. I was friends with everyone, I was a confidant, an advise giver and mostly a bubbly personality to be around. I could be weird at times, I blame that on a quirky sense of humour. I was sold on studying fashion and pursuing my interest in the field. I was a lot of things. That all faded when I got to university. I was now one tiny, tiny speck in a sea of international students where no one knew me. I was very far away the secluded and exclusive environment I lived in. At this point I was lost. I now had to create a new space, a new definition of who I was in this new and foreign place. Now the fun part about that is that you can literally be whoever you like, it’s a chance to start over to do things differently. I see nerds become social butterflies and popular kids lose their sass.
This chance we are given to alter who we are in university is that what defines us? Or it is the unlimited freedom we are given and how we choose to act upon it that really shows our true colours? It’s a complex question to answer but it is one we rarely discuss.
when I ask people to describe who they are some tell me they are students, some tell me they are sons and daughter, some give me their names, some say I am so and so’s girlfriend or boyfriend. My question to them then is, so what happens when your no longer a student, when your family is no longer around, when your name changes after marriage or when you dump or get dumped by your loved ones? Is that the end of you as you? Is it at that cross point that we have to redefine ourselves..but then aren’t we stuck in vicious cycle of defining ourselves in impermanent things?
University has only given me a further glimpse into who I am, but I still cannot answer that question, can you?