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Caroline Richardson, Health and Lifestyle Editor

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Throughout my life, my parents have always stressed two things in particular: the importance of paving your own path and always staying true to who you are. I always felt I went through my days honoring these principles and forming a strong set of characteristics along the way that made me who I am. I always considered myself someone who was kind, hardworking, a leader, family-oriented, and not afraid to stand apart from the crowd. I was unapologetically me… or so I thought. It wasn’t until the college decision process that I began to question everything I thought I knew so well about myself.

Growing up as the baby of the family is never easy. It’s especially difficult when both of your older siblings chose to follow the family tradition of going to the school we’ve grown up with in our blood. Cheering for the Irish is all we ever knew. Watching the majority of my friends and peers get excited about attending the same colleges and planning who to room with made things even harder. Amidst these challenges, I began to feel completely lost. I was afraid of disappointing my family and wondered what people might think of me when they discovered I was breaking away from tradition. I became jealous of my friends who were so sure of their future and wondered why it wasn’t so easy for me. Before the college search even began, I knew I wanted to go away from home, and I knew I wanted to challenge myself. Suddenly it felt like I wasn’t sure of anything, and I even began to question whether I applied to the right schools. My parents continued to reassure me that I would find somewhere that felt like home for me, but truthfully, I didn’t believe them.

Life went on and my uncertainty continued, but I always made an effort to remind myself of what my parents once taught me. I was scheduled for one final visit at Butler University(BU), and I had no idea how much my perspective would change. As the day went on, I slowly felt myself accepting that I was ready to call this place home.

Everywhere I looked, it seemed I was encountering people just like me who embodied the same characteristics I, too, possess. When I met my parents at the end of the day, I couldn’t help but be overcome by emotion. All along, they had been right. They knew I needed to challenge myself and do something different than most people. They knew I needed to continue to be myself because one day, I would find the place where I belong. They knew I would eventually find somewhere I can now call home.

While this journey has had many bumps along the way, I want to leave you with some things I learned through this process. Don’t ever lose sight of who you are or what goal you might want to achieve. While I was tempted on many occasions, I am so grateful I never let my fears compromise who I was or all I wanted to accomplish. Standing away from the crowd and doing something different is a daunting task, but life is all about challenging yourself in the pursuit of continuously progressing. I can honestly say I am the happiest version of myself at this very moment. I hope you continue to be you, and I have BU to thank for reminding me how to be me.

Caroline Richardson

Health & Lifestyle Editor

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