14. YES! How wonderful is it to hear that we can finally be accepted for who we are and forgo all the things we are not. Over the last couple of months I have actually been questioning who I was because I sincerely thought there was something wrong with me. I found myself enjoying a quiet night in more than venturing off to all the parties occurring around campus. I love sitting by myself and simply watching people, and I especially find myself talking a lot less than I did in the beginning of my college career.

It was not until I watched this episode of Ted Talks did I realize that all these new actions are not the side affects of being abnormal but the actual opposite. It’s  okay to want to be alone and to not go to functions simply because everyone else is attending, and no matter how many times your friend calls you a loser for it, IT IS OKAY to sit down in the amphitheater in the middle of campus and enjoy your own company. However, in this new positive revelation there I found a downside. If I, for so long thought that there was something off about my personality, how many others have also thought the same about themselves? And how much of those people have not come to the realization that it’s alright to be who you really want to be?

During these last few months of discovery I have also had the pleasure of talking with a few people that - some may be introverts or extroverts - think the same way I do. I have had conversations with ethnic study students, accounting students, advertising students, a guy who drives his church’s van to pick people up, a young man who recently started his own production company and all the way to a journalist turned financial life adviser and they all basically say the same thing: No matter what the world tells you, it’s okay to be who you are. To me society is the one that has it all wrong - not to say that being an extravert is bad but that it’s okay to be reserved too. Not everyone thinks best in groups or enjoys being in a public setting. Like  Susan Cain said, maybe we introverts generate our best thoughts, ideas, creations, and personalities while we are alone. Who is anyone else to tell us otherwise?

Which brings me to another point. From birth we are exposed to a world that says do what you want as long as it’s something that will generate money. The first parts of a school to get cut are the arts and music programs while math and reading are left in their safe corners. What else is a child to think if the one thing he or she is good at is  stripped away and they are pushed to participate in something that brings no joy? It is then when we get to college, any notion of a dream we once had is so far mutilated that we are forced to believe that journalism is dead, painting will land you a spot underneath the bridge and  sociology will turn you into a tree-hugging nut! Sadly enough, majority of the people think that all the “successful” jobs are ones that deal in business, medicine, and law. However, I have seen and heard about far too many people that end up in that corner office on the 55th floor only to find out they regret all the steps that got them there. Again, I am not saying that the this certain status quo is at fault but I just want to the world to know white collar jobs are in no way the only road that leads to the right. If you love driving taxi cabs, go for it; if you like to play the harmonica, find a band that’s missing a member; wanna make sculptures out of recyclables? do it!**

Stop categorizing life as risks vs safety -it will get you nowhere. Think of it as what will ultimately fulfill your passion vs what won’t.

** Following your dreams won’t be easy or medium, it will be hard. Don’t give up on them.