Photo Credit: Lindsay Smith
I believe that having an individual identity is one of the key components to surviving life as a college student, as these are some of our most formative years.
During a late-night eyebrow re-shaping session this week, I started to think of the beauty and style standards imposed on people today of all ages and genders. I wanted to make my eyebrows straighter, like those of Rooney Mara or Korean fashion models, yet a small voice in the back of my head told me the look might be too severe. This made me realize how easy it is to forego our uniqueness for something a little more accessible to the masses.
While in school, we are given guidelines for everything that we do. This structure helps us stay on track, but also fixes us into a routine that can be hard to break out of. Even classes that promote individuality can cause pressure.
What if I’m not creative enough? What if I completely miss the mark? These stressors make it easy to forget that we need to take care of ourselves too.
It’s easy to put yourself last when you have a mile-long list of things to do; however, I feel that making time for things that make you feel completely and utterly yourself is vital. Whether you listen to Leonard Cohen or Top 40 (or both), make sure to treat yourself with the things you love without shame.
If you find that your tastes aren’t appreciated by those around you, remind yourself that your interests are yours to keep and that no one should question them.
When I cut off almost all of my hair, I was met with a few concerned parties. I could tell that some people wondered why I would chop off a healthy and undyed mane, and I simply could not explain it. I did what felt right to me at the time, and while I questioned myself for a couple of months thereafter, it remains one of my favorite decisions I’ve made. The decision answered to no one, and perhaps that is why it felt so right.
I become absolutely excited when I see everyone’s individual styles represented on campus. Bright dresses, structured menswear, simple t-shirts and jeans. It all represents different types of people expressing themselves, even in the midst of a hectic day.
While we don’t always feel our best on the way to school and perhaps accessorizing is the last thing on our minds, individuality can be represented in much more private and personal ways.
Perhaps carrying around a small notebook with your daily thoughts makes you feel at peace, or a brand new set of pens keeps you excited for your classes. My point is not to outshine anyone or wear things that make you uncomfortable, but to hone in on your own sense of happiness and keep it close by.
Sometimes as students we may feel that our voices are being drowned out by the daily grind of tests and assignments, and these small reminders of our own identities can lift our spirits and remind us how important we are to our respective fields.
My personal identity is even more important to me now that I am almost finished with my time here at UTSA. At the end of a long day with little sleep to my name, I feel a sense of warmth that comes from the things I choose to surround myself with.
People have questioned my short hair before or the amount of makeup I wear, and while I used to let it bother me, I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel it at all. No matter if you are met with odd looks in the hallway or none at all, hold your head high and celebrate the fact that you are representing yourself.