Mar 2014
Josie Bungert

The importance (and unimportance) of identity

When I came to Creighton, I was a journalism major, with English and Dance minors. I had a plan, as all of us do, and I didn’t really see myself straying much. However, as I continued in my dance classes and was given an opportunity to have a position in my major, I found I had mentally distanced myself from ballet, until I physically distanced myself, too.

Before I officially dropped my dance minor, I went into major, Type A, freak out mode. I had been dancing since I was three years old, I picked Creighton partially because of their dance program, and it was something I had always done for fun, to separate myself from the rest of the world. However, I felt different about it in college, and found that I was not as interested in it. So, after making many pros and cons lists, crying a lot, and talking to my parents and best friends about it, I dropped it, and in doing so, was able to take on another opportunity in the Journalism department and turn my English minor into a major.

After I dropped my minor I felt a sense of relief, I kept waiting for the sadness to seep in. I kept thinking I would start to miss it, since it was such a huge part of my life for so long. I kept believing that it would happen eventually – I would see a class going on, or watch a dance performance, or see other students from my class and feel a pang of sadness. But it didn’t. I never missed it.

At first, this realization troubled me. I couldn’t believe I had dedicated so much of my life to something that I down the line didn’t even miss a little bit.

But then, I realized something else. This thing, that kept me grounded for so long and was so routine that I couldn’t imagine a life without, was a phase of my life, and that phase was over. It had its time, it ran its course, and that’s why I could get over it without much trepidation.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this part of my life as of late is because it’s the only way I’ve been able to even fathom the idea of graduating and moving on from a school that has given me so much these last four years. I am not going to take this time to get all sentimental, but wanted to tell this story so as to try to relate to those of you in the same place as me. If you’re worried about graduation, or if you’re worried about the person you will be post-grad, maybe looking at your future self in this way could help.

I am not ready to graduate, that’s for sure. But the idea that at one point I gave up something that was a big part of my life, something I wasn’t sure I could get along without, and made it through without much feeling at all, is making the idea of graduation a little more bearable. I am hoping that when I graduate in May my college identity will be affected in this way. I hope I can look back on the fond memories of college while at the same time be able to move on without much sadness. Being a dancer was a stage in my life that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I’m trying to look at college in that same way.