Let college shape you, not define you

When I sat down to write my senior column, I immediately thought I’d be writing a sentimental piece about how much I’ve learned at TCU and about how much I have changed. I imagined I would look back and laugh at myself as a wide-eyed freshman who sat down in the wrong classroom on the first day of school.

But I did that my sophomore and junior years, too.

I’m still nervous about studying for finals, I still vow after every test that I will never procrastinate again and I still get lost in Sid Richardson.

Everyone says that college is a time to change – a time to grow and learn and to “become the person you are going to be.” But I think it’s important to remember in the midst of finding yourself that you make sure you don’t lose yourself.

I’ve seen my fair share of friends change and grow in college. Some have come home with piercing, tattoos, new hair colors, new eating habits and new boyfriends and girlfriends.

All of these things are to be expected, but in the process of all the change in reinvention, it’s more important to hold tight to the values and foundation on which you stand.

As is expected, I’ve changed in college. I’ve expanded my horizons, broken the rules, stepped out of my comfort zone and taken on tasks I was under-qualified to perform.

Did college shape the person I will be? Yes. But did it change who I am? No.

So that’s my parting advice.

Through all of the change and the craziness that defines college, take what’s truly important to you – the things that define who you really are – and hold onto them. Whether it is friends, family, religion or a self-proclaimed moral code, cherish it and let it be your guide along this three-, four- or five-year journey.

I guarantee that the things you hold dear will be challenged. Your experiences, your professors and your friends will take those things and push them to the limits – they will beat them down, build them up, question them and make you defend them for all they are worth. But once it’s all over, you will be stronger.

College is about change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about changing who you are and what you believe.

Maybe my college experience wasn’t the typical college experience. But it was my college experience and I emerged a stronger, more confident person who knows what is most important. And hey, who wants to be typical anyway?

Editor-in-chief Bailey Shiffler is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Georgetown.