My last fall semester as a college student is rapidly coming to an end, and I am completely swamped with capstone projects to complete, research papers to write, presentations to give, and even Saturday classes to attend. However, even though I’m currently being haunted by due dates, I’ve decided that now would be a good time for me to begin another blog post. Priorities.
While undergoing my extensive process of procrastination, I came across a photo that my hairdresser shared on Facebook. Normally I would scroll past most of these things, looking for a funny picture to tag my friends in (for example, ‘tag someone in this photo of a pickle to waste their time’). I couldn’t ignore this one, though:
Since I’ve began blogging for The Journey of Sara Joelle, anything with the word ‘journey’ immediately catches my eye. I believe that a person can embark on many different types of journeys, and I am constantly looking for a new one to immerse myself in. But that is the exact problem that this photo made me aware of: the constant need for something different, something more; something to make me seem better.
People are always looking for something more to accomplish, myself included. In fact, I am probably the perfect example of this. I have always been obsessed with becoming the perfect candidate for law school acceptance. I’ve tried to make myself look different, more appealing, more diverse. I’m trying my hardest to become someone whose traits seem competitive. Since I began college, I added a second major, then a third, then a minor, followed a judicial internship, then a legislative internship, years of law firm experience, numerous extracurriculars, then a paralegal certificate, going as far as taking classes all day on Saturdays, and the list continues. And to be honest, I’ll probably look for even more to become in order to make myself stand out on paper. I’ve become more concerned with how someone else views me on an impersonal level than how I’m viewed as an actual human. I haven’t thought for one minute about how dedicating time to these things has taken away from my personal growth – the journey to find out who I am as a person.
When someone asks me about myself, the first thing I find myself saying is that I’m a triple major, or that I’m a paralegal student, or that I’m a writer, or that I’m a Vice President of my sorority. I never think to say that I’m a good friend, or that I’m an honest person, or that I’m passionate about helping the less fortunate. I define myself by what my resume says, not by my character – and I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with this until I came across that picture.
What kind of person am I if you take away all of the things that piece of paper says about me? Sure, its impressive that I’ve worked at the Connecticut Superior Court. Yeah, its nice that I have a few years of job experience in my field before I’ve graduated college. Of course, I’m not diminishing any of the hard work that I’ve put in to be able to add all of these things to my CV, but these things don’t matter when I take my makeup off and lay my head on my pillow at the end of the day.
You’re only as good as your character, and when you’re caught up in trying to make yourself look good on paper, you forget what you want to be in real life. Sometimes I find myself thinking that I don’t even care about half of the things I’ve gotten myself into. I’ve lost sight of my actual interests in an attempt to seem more appealing to someone reviewing my accomplishments.
I wanted to share my reaction to this picture with my readers because I feel that I’m not alone in feeling lost on the journey to find what type of person I actually want to be. I know that I can be something more than simply ‘the triple major’ or ‘the law school applicant’ – and I definitely want to focus my efforts on finding what else I do want to be. So, if you’re feeling like you’re doing a whole lot for something you don’t even know if you care about (like me), I would recommend taking a step back. Shut the laptop. Think about what you would want your friends or family to say about you, rather than a possible employer. Become that person – in person, not on paper. Who are you at the end of the day, when you un-become everything that isn’t really you?