Just who the hell are you?

If you’re like most college students, you know one guy who cycles through identities so fast that it’s ridiculous. One week he’ll be a hard-partying metalhead; the next, a socially aware hip hop enthusiast. Then it’s on to being a tortured poet, a hardcore environmentalist and, finally, a jaded stoner.

While the above example is clearly an exaggeration, it’s probably closer to the truth than you think. It’s normal to experiment with a few different identities during your college years. After all, you’re exposed to many new and interesting ideas, some of which will probably have a profound impact on your value system and worldview. Instead of trying to define yourself as one thing, be flexible and allow yourself to grow and change. Doing so will allow you to graduate with a much better understanding of who you are than when you entered college.

A Fresh Start

College presents an opportunity to leave your high school persona behind and begin anew. It doesn’t matter if you were a nerd, a jock or the class clown. In college, no one knows your past reputation. With a little careful planning, you can drastically change how others perceive you, beginning from Day 1 of your freshman year. You can go from having no friends to being the most popular guy on campus.

With so many open-minded people around and much less pressure to conform than in high school, many college students choose to highlight an aspect of their personality that they had previously kept hidden. As a result, many students overtly exhibit their sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and political beliefs.

Virtual You

Be careful when it comes to information and pictures you upload to your blog, Myspace or Facebook. Anyone with an ounce of tech savvy can access these pages, including your professors and potential employers. Students have been kicked out of school and fired from jobs because of what they put online. Think twice before you post items such as:

  • Pictures of you drinking, doing drugs or engaged in sexually suggestive behaviors (e.g., streaking across campus or drunkenly making out with random people)
  • Blogs in which you mock your professors or classmates
  • Offensive (e.g., racist or sexist) comments on other people’s profiles
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