Normal is boring; be different and own it

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When I was a senior in high school, my teacher told me that he’d be surprised if I could even graduate from college because I couldn’t stay focused. 

He also told me that I should reconsider my journalism degree because I think and do things differently. 

An educator, someone who should inspire, crushed me with these statements in front of a class.

I’ll never know if he was joking or not, or maybe trying to be funny, but I remember feeling a fire from within to prove him wrong from that day on. 

This weekend I will graduate from the university with a degree in journalism and art. Throughout this time, I’ve changed my major about four times and questioned it even more. 

However, after four and a half years, I truly am ready because I finally understand that being different isn’t a bad thing.

If I’ve learned anything from college, it’s that you should use the things that make you different and own it. Make it your own. 

You might be awful at taking tests, but an incredible painter.

You might be terrible at even drawing a stick figure, but might find a cure for an illness or discover a new species.

You might not enjoy the presence of people, but you’re going to be the next big author.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what other people think of us, what matters is what we do with our lives.

I may be that weird kid, but that’s what allows me to see outside the box, think differently and create art that I can be proud of. 

College is a place where you should be able to take risks; take a class that you’ve always wanted to or join a club, maybe even start a club.

Don’t let people set the bar for you, because you’re stifling your abilities before getting the chance to explore them.

I know a lot of people say that USI is small or wasn’t their first choice, and I believe that’s just an excuse, that they don’t want to work hard.

I remember in high school my mom used to tell me “why not you?” (I think she heard some football player say it). I never really understood that until now.

Sure, ADHD, anxiety, depression, quirkiness and any adversity might suck at times, but if I have learned anything, it’s that we should love ourselves and stop trying to be someone that’s “normal.”

Normal sucks.

Everyone tries to make themselves look like an Instagram influencer, change their personality to try and fit in more and take dumb beauty challenges to fix themselves.

I challenge you to be yourself because it’s taken me a whole college experience to figure that out and I’ve never been happier. 

Go be weird or something.