Remember Who You Are
The maxim "know thyself" -- Nosce te ipsum in Latin-- has had a variety of meanings attributed to it in literature. One common translation can be applied to those people whose boasts exceed what they are. Another is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude. For good reason, giving credence to the opinions of others or following the examples of our peers can sometimes lead to destruction. This is especially true during the college years when students are presented with total freedom and very little responsibility. A few weeks ago I had a great conversation with a college student who is in this type of situation. Fortunate for her, she has a strong sense of self-identity. Overall, she gives college high marks. She has made many good friends and learned much. Still, one of her biggest concerns for her age group, and girlfriends, is that they act like people they are not.
In her words, “They don’t know how to respect themselves.”
Knowing she has a strong sense of self-identity at such a young age is such a blessing. Faith and family values have definitely shaped her into the woman she is now. Her determination to not compromise her values is evident in the way she conducts her life. Like her, many young people going to college know that they have the passport to freedom. College and adulthood bring great opportunities to become more responsible, but with that freedom comes many temptations and distractions. The intention is to go to college to learn, but the social pressure to party can be overwhelming. Partying and sexual freedom quickly replace the disciplines of studying, whereas in high school there are more limits on such activities.
In an article published by Penn State News, Kevin Sliman delved into the problem of binge drinking on college campuses. The article, How serious is the binge drinking problem on college campuses?, has some staggering conclusions.
“According to the data that Hayes and his colleagues from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health have collected from more than 100 college campuses, 56 percent of students don't engage in regular binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks in a row for men, or four or more drinks in a row for women.” This means that 44% of students do binge drink.
Girls in particular fall into the trap of wild living in exchange for social acceptance. Many start drinking and become sexually active with boys. In an effort to fit in, these girls become people they are not. They gain social acceptance at the cost of their self-respect and core values.
What is a young lady to do in this type of situation? How does a young lady or man avoid these pitfalls and find their passion in life and ultimately their identity? For me, the temptations of drinking started in high school. My girlfriends and I smoked cigarettes a few times. My girlfriends also started having boyfriends. Some of them had a few at the same time. I was more of a shy girl and chose not to have a boyfriend until later.
Many times we make excuses as parents and allow our children to find their own way. Parents are often afraid to share their life lessons when their children get to this age. Adults think --that’s just part of the college experience. I remember those days. Everybody else does it. Eventually they will stop and become respectable. It’s all part of growing up.
This was probably the path I would have continued on. The temptations of drinking, smoking, and having many boyfriends could have lured me in if it weren’t for the values that I was brought up with. Like the college student that I talked to, I had many good principles and values shared with me from parents that loved me unconditionally.
Having these values gave me the confidence I needed to say no to the temptations of college. Without a doubt, you will get into situations that will bring consequences that you will regret for the rest of your life if you don’t know who you are.
Another turning point in my life happened one month before I went to Law School. I discovered who I truly was and whose I was. I discovered how much my heavenly Father loved and accepted me, which gave me a deep sense of purpose and identity. I didn’t have to do anything different or become someone else to find love and acceptance.
I received God’s love and grace in my life and began to comprehend God’s great love. I knew deep down that I was made in God’s own image. He also told me in a very vivid way that he died for me on the cross to give me a new life. When I heard this, I wanted to love, honor, and surrender my life to Jesus.
This was a turning point and gave me the willpower to make moral choices because of a desire to please God. I am a sinner saved by grace. I am also God’s loving daughter that wants to love and please Him. I want to have a fruitful life made out of great decisions that I take because I trust Him.
Here are some common sense questions and tips to consider that will help you during those college years.
- Consider the consequences of everything you do. Studies show that the brain is not developed completely until age 25, so be on the alert when it’s time to make a life changing decision.
- See alcohol, drugs and any addictive behaviors as something that can blind you of your abilities to make good decisions.
- If you don’t set good physical boundaries in your relationships, you will end up having sex. Be wise and ask God to give you wisdom.
- Guard your heart, love and respect yourself. You are beautifully and wonderfully made.
- Stay a virgin until the day of your wedding. Remember that fondling leads to sex.
- Treat others in the way you want to be treated. Men, think of women as if they are your little sisters. Ladies, think of men as if they are your brothers.
- Go to places that will make you grow as a person and be with people that will help you to be strong and commit to your values.
- Make the most of every minute of your life. Get wisdom, discipline and understanding.
And the most important one to me.
- Get to know and love God. The more you do this, the easier it will be to get to know yourself.