Who am I really?

Originally appeared online in the teen series Trending -  January 3, 2023

It was my first year of college. I’d gone home for a holiday break, and now it was almost over. I adored college, and yet, the night before I left, I crawled in next to my mom, who was reading in bed, and cried because I didn’t want to go back. It just didn’t feel like home yet.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that feeling was sparked by something deeper than a few months spent surrounded by unfamiliar people and places. I’d also found myself in new social environments, and was beginning to question why I believed what I did as a Christian Scientist. Drinking? Hookups? Who was I, and what did I really think? In my quest to figure out what I believed and valued—rather than simply accepting what others had told me I should believe—I’d begun to experiment with different choices. 

Most people would probably look at what I was doing and think it was pretty tame. Still, I didn’t feel like myself. That feeling peaked one weekend night a few weeks after the break when a group of friends and I took the bus to attend a fraternity party at a nearby university. It felt like our first “real” night of college, and everyone was excited to go. But as soon as we arrived at the party, I panicked. I couldn’t pretend any longer; it just wasn’t my scene. I left, along with several friends, and went back to our campus feeling stupid and embarrassed. The next day, I woke up with a rash around my neck. 

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