The Watch Your Step Blog

Kyle Grappone, Public Speaker and Book Author

What Does ‘Finding Yourself’ Actually Mean Anyway?

You go to college to find yourself. I have heard that statement spoken several times in the past and I still don’t fully understand what it means. Did you get lost in high school? What are you trying to find now that you are in college? Of course, this idea of finding oneself is not limited to teens and young adults. We often hear of people taking vacations or breaks from relationships to “find themselves.”

Again, what the heck does that mean and how does one begin such a bizarre task? Nevertheless, if you feel as if you are going to use your college years to find yourself, you are better off figuring out what you are looking for and why it’s relevant that you find it.

Be More Specific

     If you feel the urge to find yourself, start figuring out what you are looking for. The chances are high that you are looking for your purpose in life. The reason you are here and what you should be doing with your time. If you are looking for your purpose, then yes, college is a great place to begin exploring that. Specifically, begin to list out what you are looking to gain from your college experience. Independence, discovering a new passion, and learning new skills are all items that can help you find out your purpose. Also, start to think about the type of person you want to become. What in life do you enjoy doing? What events from your past made you feel good and gave you a sense of purpose and satisfaction? Once you start answering those questions, you can begin to build the type of person you want to become. Now, instead of finding yourself, you are creating yourself and your future life.

Are you really lost?

     The idea of becoming someone new or beginning a new journey may sound exciting, but is it really necessary? Are you lost and in need of finding, or are you just going with the crowd and looking for improvements in areas that don’t need them. If you have known what you wanted to do with your career since you were younger, there is no need to pretend to have an epiphany now. If you have discovered your purpose and have a pretty solid idea of what you want your future to look like, then you are way ahead of the game. Focus on making decisions that will help you get there. If you are still in high school, begin to research majors and schools that align with this vision. Talk to those who are currently living a similar life and figure out what they did to get there.

Check Out My New Book: To The Next Step

Should you go to college at all?

   When it comes to younger generations, this notion of self-discovery is tied to college. The idea that you have to take out loans and go away to college to figure out what type of person you are going to be for the rest of your life. There are so many things wrong with this notion. First of all, discovering your identity has little to do with college. It has everything to do with your desire to take control of your future and figure out the type of person that will bring you a life of joy and satisfaction. Therefore, it is essential, before starting the college selection process, to decide if college is even right for you in the first place. If you enjoy working with your hands, building things and working on your feet, a college classroom might be the last place for you. You can learn more about trade schools in this blog I wrote earlier this year.

What to do next

   So, after it’s all said and done, you have “found yourself.” You figured out the type of person you want to become, and you have created a plan to get there. Now what? Now, you go from finding yourself to bettering yourself. Defining your purpose and passion are only half the battle. The next step is continuing that desire to control your future. To keep driving towards learning new skills and facts, growing as a person, and experiencing new and different things.


The term finding yourself is too broad and random to yield any tangible results. If you think you need to embark on the road to self-discovery, then figure out what exactly you want to find for yourself at the end of it. Understand that this is 100% about you and what you want for your future. Do not make choices based on cultural norms or well-intentioned advice from family and friends. Figure out your path forward and clearly define the short and long-term steps it will take to get there.

About Kyle

Kyle is a youth/education public speaker, book author, and podcast host. His goal is to use these mediums to inspire high school and college students to think differently about the choices they are about to make and the next steps in their lives. Want to learn more? Visit me at! The views expressed in this blog, and all my content are mine and do not reflect the views and opinions of any companies and educational institutions I have had current or past connections with.

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