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Self-love was never something I felt like I actually needed to actively work on. I mean, I genuinely liked myself. Wasn’t that enough?

When I got to Hopkins, I was filled with the utmost pride to be going to my dream school. Everything I had been pining after for the previous four years of my life was finally becoming true. I was finally a college kid! Freshmen year turned out to be only more enthralling than I had expected. I went out of my comfort zone and accomplished so many things that should make myself feel proud. I joined a sorority. I made lots of new friends. I reached out and got a research position for the next year. I passed difficult classes. Honestly, everything was really, really on track.

So, why, was I suddenly feeling down? It wasn’t the school. It wasn’t the people. I remain absolutely in love with Hopkins. Actually, I am more in love with Hopkins now than ever before. So what is this emotion of dissatisfaction? Where did it come from? Why did it take root in a person as positive as myself? I have always been an optimist. It didn’t make sense to me that I, who is known to everyone around me as bubbly and happy all the time, was experiencing so much turmoil and deep unhappiness inside.

I am the kind of person, who by core nature, can carry on like everything is fine even in times of distress. That’s just how I’ve always been. But all of a sudden, I felt like I was wiling out of control, when I couldn’t even pinpoint what was exactly so wrong. What was out of place? What was it that was really bothering me?

I thought summer would be the cure-all to this annoying, uncalled for angst, for lack of a better word. Maybe it was just not being home in a while that was getting to me, I thought.

Only, when I did go home, my emotional state did not improve.

Instead, I found myself falling deeper in this pit of distress.

After a lot of self-reflection and much needed time alone, I realized that I just have no idea what I want with myself. My school year was fulfilling and fun, yes, but it was also very confusing. There had been a relationship that I was teetering with when I had no idea if I was even ready to have a boyfriend. I was also incredibly insecure about my major choices. I know that I love to write and that it is my biggest passion, but what about Computer Science? I was doing poorly in the CS classes, what if I am not fit for it? This entire school year had been like converging to the fact that I had no idea what my answer to the cliche question, “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” would be.

All of this confusion piled together left me in an intense state of feeling unsettled. I am not used to wondering if I will figure things out–I usually have them figured out. Or if I don’t have things figured out, I usually have this abstract belief that everything will work out. That fundamental personal reassurance, the idea that I will make it–that I will manage it all, simply because I am me–escaped my person.

But I was raised to be resilient and determined. To have confidence and to stay true to myself.

If I don’t know who I am right now, that’s okay. This is the time for that. I just turned 19. I have three more years ahead of me at Hopkins. I can explore my interests. I can learn more about myself. I can use all the resources at Hopkins to really self-discover. I will learn to love myself and be good to myself even when I don’t have everything figured out.

And, ultimately, everything will work out.

On Self-Love (Even When You Aren't Sure Who You Are) 1