The thing that finally helped me feel confident

I’m not exactly sure when it started. I just remember feeling self-conscious as a child when I would go to my friend’s house and they would paint their nails or watch a movie that wasn’t G-rated (two things my mother didn’t allow me to do). Looking back, I now realize that she was just over-protective. Back then, I felt like I wasn’t the same as the rest of my friends.

As a child, I loved reading. I was also one of the smarter kids in my class. In my early years of school, this was something to be proud of. When I was about 10 or 11, it was something that made me different. Every time another kid in my class didn’t understand a problem or concept, and I not only helped them, but volunteered even more information on the subject, I would get an odd look that seemed to say, “Why do you know so much? That’s weird…” I began to pretend that I didn’t know the answer when someone else asked if I knew.

The town that I grew up in is very small, and because of this, the high school and middle school are connected. As a shy sixth grader with no fashion sense, this was terrifying. If I had just opened myself up more and realized most people were not judging me, I don’t think I would have had such a tough time in middle school. Middle-schoolers can be awful and judgmental, but like anyone else, the majority of them are not.

Because middle school was so hard for me, I was a little mean in high school, which is not in my nature at all. I would have kept many more friends from high school had I just worried about myself. I even lost all of my best friends at the end of senior year because of my inability to be a good friend.

Going into college, I resolved to make a difference. I decided I wouldn’t care what other people thought. However, I still found myself worrying about what other people would think of my outfit when I was getting dressed in the morning.

Later in the year, after a huge struggle with anxiety over winter break, I finally realized that life really is too short to worry about the opinions of others. After a long discussion with my boyfriend, I also realized that I was being way too negative, which would often make me and those around me miserable. Since then, I have resolved to be positive about all I can and to not care about what others think. Trying as hard as I can to be kind to others has also improved my own mood. I still find myself struggling with all of this sometimes, and it can be really tough. However, working hard at it every day has really made me grow as a person. My advice to anyone that is struggling with self-confidence issues is to not hesitate to talk to friends and family about it, because they love you and will be able to remind you of all the wonderful things about yourself. Stay strong and do what makes YOU happy, no matter what anyone else thinks!

Katrina Fedors is a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island double-majoring in Biological Sciences and Journalism. When she’s not watching Gilmore Girls or Supernatural, she probably has her nose in a book. 

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