An Open Letter to Ramapo College Students

Dear Ramapo,

When was the last time you apologized to someone for being yourself? Was it last week? Yesterday? Today? Five minutes ago?

I’d like to call out the 18- to 25-year-old demographic for apologizing too much. We care so much about what other people think of us that we have created a full-fledged epidemic where we apologize everyday for being who we are.

We strive for approval in every aspect of our lives. Our culture is controlled by Instagram and Facebook likes, and we’re constantly pecking away at our imperfections, finding things that we think will make us better, kinder, funnier, cuter, smarter, sexier and more relatable.

In our quest for all of the things that we think we’re lacking, we’ve forgotten about all of the things that make us great.

Everyone likes being liked. Receiving a compliment or being appreciated is great, but we don’t need anyone’s approval but our own. A lot of us don’t know how to accept ourselves for who we are without the approval of others.

Here’s where I think we should start:

Know that no matter what you do, people will think what they want, and there’s nothing that can change that. They will talk about, judge and criticize you. You can be the shiniest, juiciest apple in the bushel, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like apples.

Don’t ever doubt that you’re great. It’s just a part of life that people have different tastes.  

Don’t put yourself down for eating a cupcake when you’re on a diet, for waking up hungover once in a while, or for watching a movie with a friend instead of doing homework. Enjoy your life; stop feeling bad about doing things that make you feel good.

I challenge you to stop putting yourself down so much!

Remember that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media outlets are for communication and fun. Don’t compare and analyze yourself with other people. True confidence leaves no room for jealousy. If you know you’re great, there’s no need to hate. Don’t get caught up in social media; if you feel like taking a break, go ahead and deactivate your Facebook for a while. The world won’t end, I promise.

The most important question I have for Ramapo is: If you’re not happy, then what are you doing?

You have been given the great gift of one life on this big, outrageously beautiful earth, and the curse of not having enough time to spend on it. If you spend more than half of your average day unhappy, you need to evaluate why.

Writer C. Joybell once said, “You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter.”

No matter what happens in life, you’ll always have yourself, so now is an opportune time to become your own best friend.

I leave you with one last piece of advice from Ke$ha, an artist who most would agree, doesn’t care about what people think.

“Be yourself, unapologetically.”

Audrey Zabohonski