Editorial: On hats

File Photo
File Photo

If there’s one thing that never changes in life, it’s that it’s always changing.

We as college students are in a pretty significant season of change in our lives, and Calvin College is in a pretty significant season of change right now too, with recommended cuts being announced this week.

For me personally, I’m headed off to Washington, D.C. for my spring semester, and then I’m getting thrown out into the big bad world after graduation.

I’ve written in this column before about how the key to transitioning through change is acknowledging the loss, and one way we do that well is distinguishing between our roles and ourselves.

Most of us wear many hats over the course of a day. One minute I’m Ryan Struyk, the editor in chief. The next, I’m Ryan Struyk, the student. In some conversations more recently, I’ve been Ryan Struyk, the kid who came out in Chimes. But not too many people know Ryan Struyk.

That’s the difference between role and self.

There’s something about who we are as people that is distinguishable from what we do. Our identity shouldn’t be rooted in something that can change at the red pen of a professor or the whim of a supervisor.

The more we distinguish our hats and ourselves, the more we can maintain stability when roles end and the more we can remain level-headed when we receive praise for the job we do while we wear our hats.

When I as a student get a bad grade on a paper, I know that who I am doesn’t change. When another student is yelling at me in the hall about an article we published, I know that Ryan Struyk isn’t threatened (although Ryan-Struyk-comma-editor-in-chief might be.)

We have to be careful not to separate our roles and selves: who we are should fundamentally shape what we do.

But distinguishing them helps us navigate through change — both good and bad.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk

Ryan Struyk was the Chimes editor in chief for fall 2013. He's a senior studying mathematics and political science. Being a journalist means being both student and teacher of the world, and that’s why his job is the best one out there.

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