Krueger: College — the road to self-discovery


Illustration: Azwan Azhar/ Iowa State Daily

To some, college is where individuals find themselves. 

Emily Krueger

Forgive me if this seems like a journal entry, but this week when I was trying to decide what to write about, the idea that kept coming to mind was to write about my journey through college thus far.

College is a time to figure out who you are and what you stand for, and honestly, I think many students are unfairly stereotyped during their college years.

The life of a college student can be busy, tiring and confusing. For most college students, it’s also the first time they have really been away from their families. Suddenly you are dropped into a new world, a new environment, new people and new ideas all battling for your attention. The homework load can be brutal and the line between right and wrong can become blurred.

However still, I find something beautiful about the crazy chaos of college life.

This year has been a tough but exciting one for me. I am a 19-year-old married college student, and between the homework, the 30 to 35 hour work weeks, deadlines and making sure I have enough time to spend with my other half can be exhausting. There are so many new challenges to face — I have been left with so many questions with no answers concerning my faith, time, and future.

I grew up in a very Christian home which I am so thankful for, but this year I have come to realize that I have to start to make my own decisions concerning my faith. I used to think I was so strong in what I believed, but this year everything I believe and stand for I have found myself questioning. The most difficult part about it is that I know my searching has not gone unnoticed by my friends and family. I’m trying new things, and stepping out of the lines of what is considered appropriate.

I am searching, exploring and learning.

I have heard so many stories about students who have gone to college and “lost” their faith. But have they, really? I do not believe someone can just lose something they have believed their whole life.

I think sometimes people just need to chance to wander. The chance to try new things and challenge everything they have ever believed in, the opportunity to figure out who they want to be, are not be defined by someone else’s beliefs or ideas about life.

The journey can be confusing, stressful and just plain twisted to people watching from the outside. People won’t always understand the steps you take or the things you do. I have already gotten so much advice and many comments, all meant with good intentions. But people need to realize, whether family, friends or peers: This isn’t their journey — it is yours.

I am going to make mistakes, some worse than others, and where a few months ago I would have been torn up about it, I’ve come to the realization that it is okay to wander. How else would I really discover what I stand for? I want to be a person who is real with people, no religious, social or emotional masks. This is where I am right now, and this is where I begin my journey.

College is not just about academic studies and  research, it is about self-discovery, about expanding your experiences and your character. You may change, but that isn’t so bad of a thing.

There is something inexplicably beautiful on the road to discovering yourself.