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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: You are the main character

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College, I’ve been told, is a time to discover yourself. As I get further into my college career, I fully believe this statement to be true. You’re young, free and excited. The possibilities are endless, and you can quite literally do anything you set your mind to. It’s a time to grow, explore and understand yourself. In other words, it's all about you.   

But when I first came to college, I was focused on everybody but myself. There was a whole world out there full of people with dreams and aspirations just like me, and I was trying to take it all in without feeling small and insignificant. Surrounded by so many people, I began to feel like I wasn’t unique in any way. To make it worse, I scrolled through social media to watch influencers living these extravagant lives, and they weren’t even that much older than me.   

For example, one influencer I follow posted a video summarizing her life in the past few years. She explained how she was unhappy with her life in the United States, and then the video cuts to her buying a farm in the Italian countryside, falling in love with an Italian hunk, and waking up every morning to a cup of healthy matcha and a beautiful Italian sunrise. Excuse me? The store-bought pasta I will eat for dinner for the fourth night in a row is about as close as I will get to that picturesque Italian dream. Yet, silly as it sounds, I couldn't help but compare my life to that. Wealth and privilege aside, how was I supposed to make my life that exciting? 

It felt as though everyone else was a main character and I was just a sidekick in their life stories, simply here to support their narratives. It was as though I was living in the shadows of people who seemed greater than me in some way. To put it plainly, I did not feel like the main character in my own life.  

As a sophomore, I’ve realized it’s so easy to glamorize the lives of others, assuming their stories are something to always envy. But, to live your life to the fullest requires you to acknowledge the spotlight is already on you, and now you must do something with it. Make your life interesting in the ways you want it to be. Start that new hobby, wake up earlier, talk to new people. You are building yourself, one experience at a time. You are growing like everybody else, but you're doing it at your own pace, in your own way.  

I’ve begun to learn that every small detail of my life is making me who I am. That embarrassing thing I did, the show I watched, the friend I saw, are all plot points for my life, even if they seem insignificant. I try to fill my days with things that make me feel like the main character, and I embrace the good, bad and unexpected. I may not be gallivanting in the Italian countryside, but I’m starting to feel that my life is just as exciting in its simplicity.  

I believe everything you do and every experience you have is a testament to your character, and nobody but you can have those experiences. Comparing yourself to others is easy but focusing on yourself is much more worthwhile. It's important to be the main character and write your own story, because nobody else is going to do it for you. 

Caitlyn Kulczycki (she/her) is a sophomore studying media advertising with minors in psychology and creative writing.  

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