The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Editor’s Forum

Life hasn’t been easy, but it sure has been interesting. It has been full of surprises, both good and bad, but they have allowed me to find my identity.

I haven’t always felt this way. Growing up has been a challenge for me, with constant obstacles along the way that I’ve had to leap over. There were, and still are, so many rules to follow and so many people to please.

When I was younger, my parents and my religion dictated that I work hard, be honest and be a good Catholic.

I didn’t always want to do this; none of the popular kids I saw ever had to.

I often longed to be like those kids on television, the popular ones who could get along with anybody and everybody. Instead, I was the shy chubby “nice girl” who liked to read.

Upon reaching adolescence, I learned there were so many other options other than my parents and religion; popular culture and especially my peers gave me a list of rules on how to be “cool” and how to be accepted by others, as well as the idea that being accepted by my peers was detrimental to my life as a teenager.

These new rules contradicted with the ones I had learned as a child, causing a great wall of self-consciousness and anxiety to build up inside. It was enough to make any person go mad, something I finally did.

When I entered college, I was tired of being labeled “the nice one.” I wanted to be independent, which to me meant going against every thing that I had ever stood for or associated myself with.

I dressed in black, listened to angry rock music, and likewise became angry at the world.

As I later found out, my quest to become “independent” only resulted in an identity crisis. I became confused with myself; I wasn’t sure of who I was or what I wanted.

Confused and distressed, I became increasingly determined to rebuild my life. Coincidentally, it was that summer that my family and I went on vacation, providing me an escape from my self-doubt and anxieties; I had a chance to get in touch with God, my family and myself.

I was determined to get rid of all the stereotypes that anyone had ever placed on me, wanting to start anew with the people I met. I started to present myself as how I wanted to be seen instead of just through stereotypes that others had labeled me as.

Through changing my attitude about myself, I started to be nice to people not because they expected it and that was how I was “supposed” to be, but because I actually wanted to be nice to others.

All the values and beliefs I once tried to reject turned out to be the ones I now embrace. In times of adversity, sometimes those values and beliefs are all I can cling to, along with the idea that “things can and will always get better.”

In the end, I am still the quiet one who likes to read, but I’ve learned that I’m not always quiet, and I don’t always read.

I’ve also learned that stereotypes are limiting. They limit our perceptions of others as well as the possibilities we might have for ourselves.

This “identity crisis” gave me a chance to break out of my shell; I’ve learned to love myself more, strengths as well as weaknesses. I’m happier and healthier; my reading habits even got me promoted to copy editor.

I still worry about what others think about me; I’m sure we all do at times. But now, I’ve decided that what is important is what I think about myself.

Romero is in her first semester with the Union. The weekly forum does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board.

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