If you clicked on this post, and you are reading it now, I can safely assume that you probably feel that you are different in some way. Obviously, everybody is “unique,” but the truth is, some people are more unique than others. The kid that got bullied in your 10th grade homeroom? Probably more unique. The star quarterback on your high school football team? More unique. What that really means is just that you stand out more in comparison to other people- you’re not a member of the status quo. For the most part, this isn’t a great feeling. Being viewed as “different” is a heavy weight to carry, especially as a young person. Most of us don’t really have any control over these factors that make us different. They simply exist, and they tend to be hard to erase. This is why high school can be such a rough time for many young scholars; if you’re different, everybody knows it, and at such a young age, we rarely understand how to handle it. At least, I know that I didn’t. I grew up in a very, very, very (I can’t stress this enough), very small farming community. I graduated with ninety other kids. Most of them were born and raised in those parts. Many of them were related or had family ten minutes down the road. Me? I was born in South Florida, and my parents are from Ohio. I didn’t know the first thing about hunting, cotton, or truck mechanics, and to make matters worse, I wasn’t really interested. At first, I was the “cool” kid. Girls liked me because I was different from all the other guys. I didn’t wear boots, chew tobacco, or go out riding dirt roads for fun. Eventually, though, the novelty wore off, and I was simply different. I wanted to read books in the library while everybody else sat on their tailgates after school. My family didn’t own one gun, but my peers could name a rifle caliber after hearing the gun shot a mile away. I had a few like-minded friends, and we wanted out. We wanted a place where there were more people “like us.” Our teachers told us that that place was university. So, that’s where we went. So far, it’s been a blast. I wouldn’t change a thing. However, for those of you in similar situations to mine, I have to tell you the truth. More than likely, you’re still going to be different. Now, I’m surrounded by people who have no idea what it’s like to live next to a cotton field. They can’t conceive of a place with no mall. They’re uncertain why I pay all my own bills, why I live so cheaply, and why I didn’t get a new car for graduation. I have to stress this point: do not be fearful. Everybody is unique. Some of us are more unique than others. What you have to realize, though, is that fitting nicely into a little niche in society isn’t going to make you a better person. It will undoubtedly make some things easier, but you and me? We aren’t made for things to be easy. We panic without a little bit of a fight, because that’s what we have had to do our entire lives. Proudly be different. Some people, even in college, are going to judge you for it, but most people want to meet you. Most people will want to find out more about you. Learn from them, just like they are learning from you. Do it consciously. Expand, grow, envelop. The fact that you are different means that you have to adapt learn how to adapt. Embrace adaptation. That’s a real life skill, and you will always be prepared for the future if you immerse yourself in learning how to manage different situations and different people.