I feel like I’ve just come out of a birth canal. Not a literal one but a place of darkness all the same. I went through a phase, like most people I know, where I had not experienced being challenged. School, work, activities; I was successful no matter what task was in front of me. More importantly, I was successful with ease. Quite simply, I didn’t know what it meant to really strive and dedicate time towards achieving something. And so, that leads me back to the birth canal. Up until the past three years I was sort of strolling through life without any strong excitement towards the future. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t bored or unhappy with life. Like most of us, I was always thinking of completing the next stage of my life rather than enjoying the present moment. How many of us are guilty of constantly thinking about how and what we’re going to do in the next 2 years, when we’re married, when we have kids, and before we die? I was the same until about three years ago.
It all started with Swing Dancing. Sophomore year, my first semester at Rutgers I had finally decided to fulfill my childhood dream of learning how to Swing Dance. The first meeting was nerve-wracking to say the least. It seemed like everyone knew each other already and they were all so talented. I however, was terrible. I had no musicality, rhythm, or balance but I loved it. I loved it so much I came week after week thinking, Wow… one day I could look like that. One day I’ll be that good, maybe even better. Before I knew it that day had come and I, for the first time, had really put effort into becoming good at something. Swing Dancing gave me a new breath of life.
I became passionate about yoga, meditation, and awareness which I practiced through the Rutgers Bhakti Club. I expressed my strength and femininity through the Belly Dance Club. I only texted people back when I felt like it. I learned to really say no. I started wearing my hair however I wanted to. I wore all the flashy lipstick and didn’t shave my legs or armpit hair unless I wanted to. I filmed an eight minute documentary story about Menstrual Cups and why having readily available options is important much to the dismay of my classmates. I told it like it was and I didn’t apologize for it.
The only reason I’m telling you all this instead of giving you insight about my childhood or all the places I’ve lived, is because what I want you to know that I am unapologetically me. And I want everyone, especially those of you just finishing up your first year here, to do the same. Go out, explore, and don’t worry about what other people are thinking. Major in whatever you want regardless of whether other people think it’s useful or not. Join too many clubs and quit them when they’re not fun anymore. Leave behind the relationships that have too many obligations. Plan on joining to Peace Corp or becoming a Fashion designer. Do whatever it is that brings you life.
Just go for it.