When I came home for winter break last December, I already had one semester of college under my belt. I had left my hometown, explored a new city, and made friends that I hadn’t just spent the past four years with. I’d been out of high school long enough to forget about who did what at that party sophomore year or what pieces of gossip I got so worked up about to visit the counseling office on a biweekly basis. I realized that the world was a bigger and better place than just high school. Much to my disappointment, however, I came home to friends that didn’t exactly have the same mindset as I did. I spent the first half of my winter break extremely frustrated, because I was attempting to maintain friendships with people that were so wrapped up in our old, irrelevant world. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to party with the same people or spend their time gossiping about current high school seniors. Aren’t there better things to worry about?
The answer is yes. But unfortunately, that took me four– almost five– years to learn. I spent most, if not all, of my high school experience trying to impress other people. I specifically remember sitting at lunch on one of the first days of freshman year thinking, “okay, that girl is the funny one of the group. I can’t be the funny one.” I spent so much time working on what was on the outside: the person I appeared to be on social media, what I wore, and who I hung out with, that I didn’t spend much time working on what was on the inside.
It took me until the second half of winter break to realize that all of this was immature and frankly, just plain stupid. Who was I trying to impress, anyways? These people that, despite moving onto higher education and more exciting opportunities, choose to spend their time and energy focusing on petty gossip similar to that from high school? No thanks. So I decided to make a change. I stopped hanging out with people that frustrated me with their immaturity and lack of substance. I cleaned up my social media feeds and unfollowed everyone whose lives I didn’t really care to keep up with anymore. I tried to be the best, most authentic version of myself. Because it really isn’t about what’s on the outside at all.
I am here to tell you, whether you are a parent rolling your eyes thinking “yeah no sh*t, I learned this twenty years ago” or an incoming freshman prepared to climb the mountain that is high school, that it’s really not about your image or impressing anyone at all. It’s about being true to yourself and developing as an individual every single day. When you stop caring about impressing others, you begin to impress yourself. You see unique qualities that make you who you are. You realize the things that actually matter. Not jeans or parties or “cool people”.
Once I made the decision to stop trying to impress others, my life became a whole lot more pleasant. Looking back on high school, I specifically remember the mean stuff people would say on Twitter or how worked up I would get about not being invited to something. Now that I don’t care, now that I’m not trying to impress anyone but myself, I see the world in a different light. I am friends with people that don’t bring me down. I try to improve upon the person I want to become– not the person that others want me to be. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be true to yourself instead of true to the expectations of others. I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from a woman by the name of Dita Von Teese: “You can be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”