SENIOR COLUMN: Stop trying to find yourselfBy Mallory Lane | 04/28/2017 2:05pm
The summer before my first semester at UA, it was continually reinforced to me that college is a time to “find yourself” and that I would “discover who I really am” once I got here. So, being the goal-driven individual I am, I entered my freshman year with a mission: find myself, preferably fast. I searched for identity the same way I searched for all those ACT cards I lost, constantly thinking it was around the next corner or forgotten somewhere along the way. I threw myself into clubs, friendships and my classes, thinking that maybe if I just signed up for the right course or met the right person all of a sudden I would have an epiphany. When that didn’t work, I started taking personality tests, pouring over Myers-Briggs results and hitting up the Career Center for some clarity on who I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to do with my life.
Come February, I was frustrated and exhausted. I knew more about myself maybe, became a little bit more self-aware, but if anything I was more lost than ever. The pursuit of identity had left me hollow. In trying to find myself, I was consistently frustrated with how I seemed to come up short. Not talented enough, compassionate enough, involved enough or intelligent enough. I was tired of searching for myself because I didn’t like what I was finding. And it was there, at the end of myself, that I picked up my bible and started reading. The truth in the text taught me in my confusion that “finding myself” shouldn’t be my purpose, but rather seeking Christ. Becoming more like myself was useless, but becoming more like Him had real value.
I hesitated to make this message about faith because I didn’t want to alienate anyone. I wanted it to be universal, and impactful, a final message and “thank you” to this university that has been so good to me. But every time I considered another topic, another lesson I’ve learned, it came up short and sounded hollow. Because the truth is, there is nothing more impactful or more universal than the reality of God’s provision and love. To say there was anything else more important to my college experience would be untrue.
My first semester someone told me “college is the best part of your life because you can do whatever you want for four years and it doesn’t matter at the end.” That moment hit me harder than the chorus of Miley’s “wrecking ball” that we listened to every night that semester. That mindset was absurd – there’s no such thing as a four year throw away period. These years matter, and they have an impact on who you’ll become. So, you may not “find yourself” – but you’ll find out a lot about yourself. So press into those revelations, and continue challenging yourself. But more importantly, seek Christ. You’ll be surprised how much identity you’ll find in pursuit of Him.
Mallory Lane is a senior majoring in management information systems.