To thine own self be true

As much as students complain about every problem or bit of stress in their lives — and rightfully so sometimes — why add to that hell with worrying about whether your clothes, music or other interests match everyone else?

We have enough on our minds without taking on these superficial pressures because we want to fit in. The answer seems simple enough: Be yourself.

Too simple? Perhaps. But it’s a start.

The battle between individuality and conformity can appear more subtle in these collegiate settings. There are enough people and groups on campus that it seems like everyone has a place somewhere. Just remember not to force yourself into a mold, though.

Individuality is necessary to a healthy sense of self because it guards against a hive mindset — free thinking at its best. It lets you know who you are so you don’t get lost in the crowd.

We are not asking you to go live alone in a cabin — that is unless writing a sequel to Walden is something you hope to do someday.

There is a reason why we try to fit in. Humans are social. We live together, we work together, we play together. Interaction and socialization are necessary to our survival. We depend upon each other for our physical and emotional needs.

It’s a beautiful system, but somewhere along the line we forgot that wearing the right clothes, having the right body type, listening to the right music and all the other crap we focus on isn’t a matter of life or death.

Make sure the way you act, think and look is because of what you want, not because you feel pressured to do so or are afraid to stand out a bit. You are you, and that’s all anyone can ask of you.

Think about it. Everyone has a different background. Geographical locations, family income, school systems, race, religion and other factors put people into predetermined groups, but they only go so far individually. Add them all together and that makes a person with unique experiences and mindset.

It’s a difficult balance to maintain because going too far either way means losing out on the other side. It’s not wrong to want to do or be something different from the crowd. It’s just as fine to want to feel accepted, a part of something bigger. It’s just a matter of moderation on both sides.

Make it easy on your friends and classmates. Stop being so judgmental. We’re all different in one way or 10 ways. We’re all still human — a living being dealing with a complex system of thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it seems we forget that little detail.

We’re all just trying to make it through college and then survive the rest of our lives. That’s enough to deal with.

Express yourself.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial aboard.