I am an newly-fledged adult trying to find my place in the world. I'm searching for new friends, new activities, new dreams; while trying to hold onto a sense of where I came from. I'm struggling to unite the girl whose dreams extended about as far as getting in to college to my new self who doesn't know where her life is taking her. I came to UCLA confident that I was the student-athlete who also loved music, but now I am questioning the very definitions of those stereotypical roles. I'm adrift between childhood and adulthood, paddling hard with no land in sight.
I set sail into this sea of uncertainty convinced that my childhood self would be the only propellant I needed to get to the other side. I soon discovered this was wrong. Being the “musical one” doesn't make me unique when I'm surrounded by the marching band, so I turned inward to find what did make me special. So far I've learned a lot. I shy away from people at first because I'm afraid at what they'll think of me, but then I have no barriers. I speak my mind, act my thoughts, and defy the typical social norms. I like speak in third person. I dance around and skip to class. I laugh uncontrollably at my own jokes sometimes without ever saying them aloud. I proudly wear the tie-dye I spent all summer making. I make fun of myself.
But why? I do because it brings smiles. It breaks the uncomfortable silences that inevitably arise when people are first meeting each other. I act loudly to prove to myself that I'm not shy, that I can conquer my fear of acceptance. In a way I use my crazy habits to dissipate my fear. If I can act like a fool in front of other people, I can also talk to them in a serious way about my real feelings. It's my crutch but I need it. If I didn't do it, I'd be hopelessly lost in that space between high school and college.