Finding yourself in the fray

My senior year is winding to a close.

More and more, I find myself wondering how I have become the man who stands on the brink of graduation, the brink of uncertainty. What prepares anyone to meet that uncertainty head on?

The weekend of St. PatrickÕs Day, I joined my five roommates in one of our favorite activities: putting on our cut off jean shorts (jorts) in preparation for a night on the town.

We had deemed it the beginning of jorts season.

In some small way, this much-maligned article of clothing has come to symbolize my transformation from self-consciousness to self-confidence. The jort, never jhort, represents one of the many means of expression I utilized in finding out who exactly I was.

I know I probably lost many of you there as you rolled your eyes or even snorted in derisive laughter. But I mean it.

Four short years ago, I never could have put on such an attention grabbing outfit and walked out the front door into public. Fear of anyone mocking me would have been too much.

In college we try to gain confidence navigating within our discipline, within professional circles and within peer groups.

We challenge ourselves to overcome mental blocks and try new things. Befriending new people becomes vital to success in that endeavor.

While classes and internships enable confidence building, skill development and construct a network, little moments of self-discovery are most often found in unexpected places.

Mine came during my first year. Frayed denim brushed my thighs as I skied slushy spring moguls with my friend Cyril, a companion in jorts. We encountered skeptical looks, sarcastic catcalls and many a slowly shaken head.

A day beginning with a weak-kneed, peer pressured entrance into public, ended with a triumphant strut back to the hotel. I had discovered, and then conquered, a personal limit.

For most, self-discovery will not include wearing clothing most commonly seen on Ô90s COPS reruns.

At the same time, these moments are unpredictable. When looking back, small choices that seemed unimportant often lead to patterns of behavior that best define us.

So donÕt sweat the small stuff. DonÕt refuse small chances to expand your experience, even in areas you may deem trivial.

Comprised of small moments of self-discovery, it all piles together into a person standing at the edge of a new era wearing his favorite pair of jorts.