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As a college student, you probably have heard something along the lines of this, quite a few times: “College is about finding yourself.” Though it seems cliche and cheesy, we have all heard this phrase uttered to us at some point in our lives. Throughout our college careers, we are constantly reminded that college is where we truly begin developing into adults.

The societal pressures placed on students to have their lives figured out can be a lot for young adults to handle, especially those aged 18–23. In addition to these stressors, it can be considerably more difficult in college for a student to allocate time to “finding themselves.” Many students believe that once they are settled into an organization or major, realization about who they’re supposed to be will just hit them in the face.

However, college isn’t just about finding yourself; college is about creating yourself. Creating yourself means there will be major mistakes, daily revelations and times when you are completely lost. Still, you aren’t necessarily supposed to have your entire life all figured out. College life is filled with time restraints, changes and unanswered questions, yet it is still possible to work on how we see ourselves as individuals.

Taking the time to focus on ourselves allows us to figure out what makes us happy and fulfilled. Throughout college, there will be times when self-care is pivotal in helping us get through tough times, reach goals or push ourselves to be better versions of ourselves.

In these short college years, we have the freedom to create ourselves every day by making our own decisions, growing independent and surrounding ourselves with people we love. We become our own person by developing our own principles, creating an authentic version of ourselves and becoming confident in our individualism. However, that is easier said than done.

As students going through the quintessential years of self-development, we are constantly surrounded by people and experiences to learn and grow from. With so many influences surrounding us, we need to make sure we focus on taking care of ourselves.

Everyone has their own personal ways of de-stressing. Spending time with a pet, calling a best friend, doing yoga or doing anything that alleviates stress is a great way to promote positive mental health. Mental health plays a role in every aspect of our lives, which is why we need to dedicate time in college to improving it.

Students experience newfound freedom and independence when they begin college. The majority of us aren’t working corporate jobs yet, we choose our class schedules, we decide what we want to do and who we want to spend time with, and we usually don’t have to answer to anyone about our daily activities.

This is the time in our lives when we have control over our future. Though it’s a daunting thought to imagine ourselves “adulting” in the real world, we have this time to create a person who will be more prepared for whatever life throws our way.

There are countless elements that go into making a person who they are. When we enter college, we are still so young. However, everything we have experienced so far makes a huge impact on who we will grow to be by the time graduation rolls around.

College is filled with new experiences that range from minor to life-altering. These changes can prove to be overwhelming and exhilarating all at once. It is up to us students to shape ourselves with what we’ve learned from these experiences.

However, it is not enough to create yourself through different experiences and lessons in college. It is crucial to focus on self-care, an important aspect of promoting your overall well-being.

Self-care means taking time to improve mental, emotional and physical health. Making time to try new things, test boundaries and reflect on who we currently are can help us create a person we love. Self-care is a major part in creating who you want to be and learning how to deal with everything that is thrown your way during your college years.

Whether it is journaling, meditation or going for a walk, a little self-care goes a long way in making sure we stay sane through the craziness of college. Finding what makes you happy is a journey, but it's exciting and should be taken seriously — it’s a step in the path to creating yourself.

College is a unique time in our lives — we need to take advantage of the opportunities we have to create ourselves further throughout the years. Don’t think of this time as a map where you have to find who you are; think of it as a blank canvas to create who you want to be. Once you have a clear mindset, you may find yourself open to more adventure and self-exploration to help cultivate the best version of yourself.

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