On the first day of my Music, Culture, & Society class, I imagined we’d delve into the chart-topping hits of Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift.
Instead, we talked about Bach.
We listened carefully to one of his famous compositions and glossed over an article that discussed his status as a musical genius. Of course, all of us already knew Bach was (and still is) considered a musical genius. But what struck me as rather unusual were the two words preceding that prestigious little title: self-appointed.
Bach was a self-appointed musical genius.
I found that kind of funny, and my mind started to wander as my professor carried on discussing the cultural significance of the Goldberg Variations. Bach, one of the most renowned and respected composers ever, was successful simply because he said he was. He declared that he was what he wanted to be, and people believed him.
And I think we should all do the same.
As we navigate our way through college, we’ve got a lot to deal with. On top of figuring out what we should major in and learning how to make dinner without using a microwave, we’re faced with the challenge of solidifying our identities. We are constantly scrambling to figure out exactly who we are and we’re faced with the pressure to be things we’re not. And sometimes it sucks when we feel like there are certain traits that we want but can’t have.
But we actually can have them — if we say so.
It’s so insanely easy to be who we want that we often forget it’s even possible. We tend to feel limited by what we “are” or “aren’t”, but isn’t that up to us? Don’t we choose who we become?
Of course we do.
The beauty of being in college is that everything is up to us. We can be anyone and do anything, and that’s pretty cool. And once we figure out exactly what it is we want, we have the power to make that what we have.
The idea that we can’t be anything is simply not true.
So be like Bach. Self-appoint whatever status you crave.
Feel like you’re lacking confidence? Tell yourself you rock. Wish you could be more of a morning person? Set your alarm early just because. Want to be a happier person? Smile in the mirror — then smile at the world.
You have so much more power than you think you do when it comes to deciding who you are — don’t let that go to waste.
Image via Amelia Kramer