Yeah, your lifestyle changes, I admit that. You no longer live with mommy and daddy, you no longer get your lunch packed for you and you no longer have a curfew, or hardly any rules at all. But is that really change?
Packing my own lunch and not having a curfew hasn’t changed me. On average, I may be a bit more tired than when I lived at home and my health is sub-par to what it was back home, but how has that changed who I am as a person? So I yawn in class more often and I get the sniffles every once in a while. Oh, no, I changed so much!
As much as this goes against the grain, I don’t think college has changed me at all. I have the same personality and outlook on life. I still have the same interests and disinterests. I enjoy the same hobbies and have the same motivation to do them. My grades look the same as they did in high school and my priorities around my academics are nearly identical to when I was in the fifth grade.
But, I have undergone a change that is quite major this past year — now I eat my pizza with ranch dressing. By definition, yes, that is a change. But it isn’t this magical transformation of self that everyone is talking about. I am still Devon Bohart, I am still the same moderately intelligent yet goofy person — I just found something else to put on my pizza, and it’s damn good too.
People think that this culture shock, this sudden U-turn, in a person’s way of life brought on by college, is going to change who they are as a person, but I can’t see that as being true. If anything, one may find that they are developing into a perhaps more defined version of themself, but not changing. Never changing.
As adults, legally anyway, we have already mostly defined ourselves. It may be a bit elusive in some areas, but we have the skeleton of who we are. We just have to fill in the meaty parts. And I am not talking about careers. That is an entirely different idea that may never be clear to some.
But as far as who you are as an individual, filling in those gaps in your persona isn’t change, it’s development, and based on my experiences, college is the epicenter of development.
To clarify, I like change, and see it every day. I like to rearrange my furniture just to feel like I have undergone some change. But just because you go to college doesn’t mean you have to change. It’s possible, nearly anything is possible, but this definite fate of morphing into a new person is not real.
You may pick up a few new quirks during your time at Davis, or feel more strongly about something you have become more educated about, but that isn’t change. It’s character development, a healthy process for anyone. Except for me; that extra ranch on my pizza is anything but healthy.
DEVON BOHART can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.