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The Tiger

Identity

Identity
Star Blevins, Art Director
Identity

We’ve all taken some personality tests in our life, whether it was on Buzzfeed to determine which “The Office” character you are or the official Myers-Briggs personality test. We all want to find the quick and easy solution to life’s greatest question: Who am I? In my opinion, our identity and sense of self are two of the most challenging things to diagnose and find. Unfortunately, none of these tests or quizzes can accurately prescribe who we are since, in theory, we only display what we want the world to see and not who we truly are.
Part of the biggest journey I went on to find my identity was learning to accept myself and the parts of myself that others did not like or approve of. If you’re like me, you may find yourself trying to hide certain parts of yourself so that others will accept you. Whether it’s a part of your gender, sexual identity, religion, culture or personality, that feeling of being different can be intimidating. Hiding from yourself doesn’t make these parts of yourself go away, and you should never have to hide from who you believe yourself to be.
People love to say that college is when you discover who you are, and on some level, I know myself more than when I took my first step on campus. Getting to know yourself is a long journey, and college is, for most, an integral part of it. This time away from home, and in the bigger world, allows us to show some of the things we hide away and gives us a fresh start.
In today’s world we are constantly bombarded with politics and how they relate to identities and groups. Even on a local level we have seen certain groups spew hateful language towards minority groups on campus. Seeing things like this makes it extremely difficult to show your true self to the world as it seems intimidating or even dangerous. That’s why it’s also important to remember how their hateful language also brought us all closer together, and allowed the Clemson student body to show our true colors. How we participate in and react to the world is integral to how we see ourselves.
Our identity is strongly linked — if not entirely, in my opinion — to how we perceive ourselves and how we react to the world around us. We try to understand our identity through labels and words, but these things are often not all-encompassing, and they can leave many feeling stranded. Putting words to who you are can help you feel more seen and make you part of something bigger. On the most basic human level, we want to belong to a tribe of our own; when you don’t find yourself fitting into one of those boxes, it can lead to you feeling alone and different. psu.edu Identity is as essential to us as air, yet sometimes it feels so far out of reach. You are entirely valid in all of yourself and your identity, even without labels or words to describe you. You are the only person who is owed anything about your identity, and you shouldn’t listen to those who demand labels or an explanation from you.
Everyone’s identity — whether personality, gender, sexuality, religion or other — is their own. No one can tell someone they are invalid because they don’t fit into one singular identity or label. Discovering who you are has no due date or rubric. Your journey can be messy and imperfect or short and well-defined. There is no one correct way to find yourself.

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