Preparing for College

Are You Unique?

The late American social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, once said, “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” That’s a “deep” thought that could apply to those of you ninth grade (or even younger) high school students who are beginning to think about your path to and through higher education. At least you should be starting to think about college, since it will play such an important part in setting a foundation for your journey through life.

Getting back to Hoffer, I might ask you a question: How do think of yourself? Do you go along to get along? That would be the way of the conformist. I think Hoffer was alluding to conformity when he said that even though we are free to do most anything (within the law and reasonable social norms, of course) with our lives, even as young people, we tend to be most strongly influenced by what others around us are doing. Thus, we tend to do many of the same things they’re doing. One thinks of sheep being herded and lemmings jumping off cliffs.

But what about uniqueness? Are you unique? Even if you consider yourself to be a conformist, do you have any stirrings inside that call out to “do it your way”? Now here’s where I’ll probably lose you (you young high schoolers). A good many years ago there was a very talented entertainer named Sammy Davis Jr. Ever heard of him? Anyway, one of his signature songs was I’ve Gotta Be Me. The part of that song that speaks to my point of inner stirrings goes:

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