Categorized | Viewpoints

Challenge your view of yourself in college

If you asked me four years ago what I thought my biggest regrets would be post-grad, the last thing I would have told you is that I wish I’d gone to more athletic events in college. 

I had never been an athlete  — instead of playing outside, I did crafts with my mom as a kid while my little sister took naps. My most serious flirtation with athletics was from third to sixth grade on my church’s recreational basketball league (and while I was pretty good, I dropped it after I found out the girls in the community rec leagues were doing crazy tricks like dribbling through their legs). 

After that, I accepted that sports would never be a significant part of how I related to other people, how I spent my time or who I was. In high school, I begrudgingly went to a handful of football games in the fall and tagged along to a few rec baseball games over the summer. I did this with the understanding that I was only there because my friends were there; I never questioned that these were fundamentally places that I just didn’t belong.

Throughout middle school and high school, I played into these ideas about my identity and interests as if they had been written in a mediocre young adult novel. I was introverted, I was unathletic, I was vaguely artistic, I was good at school, etc. I avoided certain spaces and events because I was convinced that it wasn’t “my scene.” I assumed that people that were involved in certain groups or activities weren’t interested in meeting me, that we ran in different crowds or had too vastly different interests to connect. I accepted myself as one kind of person, with one set of interests and a narrow but solid range of comfort. 

 So much of what I did through college, even, was because of the kind of person I had accepted myself as. It was only until recently that I began to seriously question the logic behind that kind of thinking. As a senior this past year, I started to consider that I’d neglected parts of myself that I didn’t think fit into this simplistic, clear-cut picture I’d drawn of myself as early as in middle school. I thought about what it would have been like to rush a sorority, or volunteer on Saturdays — or go to a basketball game. These now feel like just a few items on an ever-growing list of things I wish I’d pushed myself to explore. 

I don’t mean for it to sound like my four years at Wooster were the only chances I will have ever had to challenge my view of myself. I think it’s important for graduating seniors to remember that we have so, so many more opportunities moving forward to be constantly revising our self-image. What I do hope to encourage everyone with some remaining time at Wooster to do, though, is to reconsider those groups, events or activities that you’ve written off because they don’t fit some picture of yourself that you’ve drawn up for the sake of convenience. Who you are is not something static or unchanging, and there are so many people around you to help realize that — they might just be sitting behind you at a basketball game. 

Coral Ciupak, an Editor in Chief for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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