Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Follow Your Own Path

Trisha Hannon Smith

Not many of us can say we attended elementary, middle and high school in the same building with the same classmates from kindergarten through 12th grade.  In the northwest corner of the great state of Indiana lies Morgan Township, one of three K-12 schools in the East Porter County School Corporation. In the 1990’s, Morgan had a population of approximately 500 students in grades K-12; I was one of 36 graduating Seniors.


I followed in the footsteps of two accomplished siblings whose academic and athletic successes and popularity paved the way for my own acceptance by students and teachers.  I look back at my high school years with happy, content memories.


There is a definite comfort level attending school with your best friends year after year.  There are also severe limitations. To say I was ready to move on and not look back after graduation is an understatement.  


The summer before college I prepared to enter a new world; a world filled with 15,000 undergraduates whom I did not know.  I carefully began to assemble what I believed to be important for the journey.  New clothes?  Check.  New hairstyle and makeup? Check.  Dorm decorations that instantly revealed how cool I was? Check. I was not going to squander the opportunity to make a stellar first impression in this setting where absolutely no one knew the “old” me.


I moved into a sea of 80 women in the communal habitation of dorm life. I became fast friends with my neighbors and learned to adjust to a roommate that could not be more different than I. All the while I continued to wrestle with who I was supposed to be.


I never existed in a world where no one knew me.  


Over the course of my undergraduate years, I learned many things about myself and others.  I learned that transformation is a process. I may have changed certain aspects of my outer appearance; but inside, my personality, morals and beliefs remained unchanged. I learned to listen to the voice in my head. I found friends (who became my family) that not only loved all of me but also refused to let me change parts of myself that were special.


Many students start a school year looking for a transformative experience, a change.  It never hurts to remember a few tips for success:

  • Sit in the front of the lecture hall.

  • Find people who allow you to be your true self.

  • Don’t eat too many ramen noodles.  (You need protein.)

  • Deadlines matter.

  • The loudest student in the classroom is rarely the smartest.


And most importantly,

  • Trust that God has a plan for you.


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to try to make ourselves the best we can be.  Change is good.  But remember, you are just as God made you to be.


“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).