I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my roommate last year where I declared that I would not change at all in my four years of college. She was skeptical, and after just one of those years, I am now eating those words. I have made decisions I never thought I would. I have done things that would have scared me one year ago, and I have been humbled by those choices. Obviously, a year is not a lot of time, but it is enough to notice a difference.
If you are reading this article, it is likely that you are a college student. College is often described as the “most transformative time in a person’s life.”
This is because it is the first time you are away from your parents, you get to find out what kind of person you are going to turn out to be, and you learn both out of textbooks and from life experience. How can a person not go through changes when they are thrust out on their own like that? It is inevitable; nobody stays the same forever.
Aside from these external events in your life, a college student’s brain is still developing during these years. The decisions one makes in college are influenced by a still developing prefrontal cortex. According to the BBC article, “Is 25 the new cutoff point for adulthood?,” qualities such as emotional intelligence and judgement are some of the last to fully develop.
Why is this important? Why do I care? If you are a first-year, here is a piece of advice: accept the fact that you are going to change.
It is also a warning to be careful because the decisions you make can follow you and direct you down a path you do not want to choose. If you are a senior, then this is a chance to reflect on how you have changed over the past couple of years. It is also a chance to reflect on any further changes you wish to make or reverse before you graduate.
Think of the person you are now. Think of the person you want to be. On one hand, you can change. On the other, you can be changed. Your interests, inhibitions, opinions, goals, major, and friends can all change, and that is okay. We were not created to be stagnant beings. We are malleable and plastic.
As you transform yourself and watch those around you go through their own transformations, reflect and understand that it is a part of life. Whether perceivably good or bad, these changes mold your future, and that is pretty amazing. As the late Tolstoy said, “Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” I urge you to go forth this semester, become better people, and change.