You have done everything right. You have kept your school records clean and have a decent GPA. You find yourself in your senior year of high school, and you realize that even though you are the top dog now, you are soon to be the bottom dog and emotions start pouring out of you like they never have before. Graduation comes and goes. Summer comes and goes. Now you find yourself at the first day of college away from your childhood friends and your family. You suddenly feel lost.

If anyone tells you they did not feel a little lost on their first day of college, they are lying to you. Everyone feels this way when they start something new, just some know how to hide it better than others. College, however, should not be a scary thing. Instead, it should be where you meet lifetime friends and achieve something, not everyone does, a college degree. However, it is important not to let your emotions drag you down. This is a time where you get to find yourself. 

Childhood friends are great and are a great way for us to learn how to communicate and have relationships; however, childhood friends also become a crutch. You learn to lean on each other, and while this works until your senior year of high school, you will soon find out that childhood friends are just that.  

College is a time where you are on your own for the first time in your life. You are responsible for your actions. You have no crutch, and even though you will make friends who generally turn into lifelong friends, they will not always defend you or agree with you like your group of childhood friends. You will find you are responsible for your work; there is no one else to blame. There is no situation to blame. You will soon find out going to class is an option, but there are consequences to your actions.  

You will be tempted to do drugs and to go party, and you have to have the courage to stand for yourself and say no. You will be tempted to not study but instead watch television. After all, there is no one telling you, you can’t. Again, you will find there are consequences such as failing out of college, and who wants to do that? 

College is where you get to learn, and I mean really learn about religions and what they stand for. You get to voice your opinion without someone telling you, you are wrong. You basically are your own boss with deadlines to finish projects. You soon find out that college is an entirely new atmosphere where you learn to be you. For the first time in your life, you can voice what is on your mind, you can protest, you can make a difference, you can be you.  

So, how do you learn to be you? Find out what type of person you are. I am going to go “Kung Fu Panda” on you for a minute. Are you a partier? Are you a protestor? Are you a peacemaker? Are you a business person? Are you a school teacher? The options are endless and all your decision.  

The single most important thing in finding yourself is to detach yourself from your family and friends from home. Now it does not mean stop talking to them altogether, but go out and enjoy. Meet new people. More than likely, your college is part of some sort of exchange program. Hang with them. Learn their culture. Be open-minded. Call your folks maybe once or twice a week to let them know you are still alive, but allow yourself time to find who you are, and by staying attached to them, you will not find out who you are.  

It was not until about my third year of college that I allowed myself to detach myself from my family, but when I did how it changed my life forever. When I detached myself from them, I found out what my views on life are and not theirs. I found out I could make friends without them holding my hand. I found out that I am a hard worker and work harder than either one of my parents does.  

Detaching myself from my friends was a bit easier than detaching myself from my family. I did not have many friends in high school, and I had only moved to the area during my freshman year, and the area was small, and everyone had their own clicks. So fitting into a click was long and over. My graduation was only a stepping stone for me, but nevertheless, my nerves were definitely a wreck.  

I changed my degree, I even changed my school. I went off to school, and then I moved back home for my associate's degree and my freshman and sophomore year of my bachelor's degree. It took me five years, but I found myself and obtained my college degree.  

I found out I was nothing but an emotional wreck and needed someone to show me the light of day. I found out I needed just a little push to be who I am today. I found my husband, and my life changed forever. You may not find your’ happy ever after in college as I did, but you will, or you should be able to find yourself once you allow yourself to detach from your family and just be you. 

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