Virtues and Vices: The Road to Self-Identity


2014 was the beginning of what I can only describe as my “introspective season”. It was a year in which I had, for the first time, read the incomplete text of my existence, reflected on it, and plotted out what would be written in future passages.

September 8, 2015: I will be humble.

October 4, 2017: I will love more.

February 14, 2020: I will be brave.

Above are only a few of the numerous journal entries I had made back in Grade 12. They have since been revised, but the purpose of the book—to act as an instruction manual for me to follow—has not changed. Written in it are those virtues that I want to place into my identity and those vices that I wish to remove. The entire operation is much like an organ transplant wherein I am the one performing the surgery and the donors come from somewhere within me—not necessarily a soul, but the equivalent thereof.

We all subjugate ourselves to this subliminal surgical procedure several times in our lives—perhaps some of us have already gone through the operation more frequently than that. It is a necessary process in which the goal is perfection.

Although I have only clocked in about three months or so of university time, I’ve realized that the point of this season is not necessarily to be educated, in the most traditional sense of the word, but to learn who we are in the freest space. It’s where we gather, en masse, to hopefully become better at literally anything.

University is a place to pick and choose your virtues and vices—to construct a new “self”. As a first-year, you’re in a place where those who had known your secrets—that you have the entire Frozen playlist downloaded on your phone, for instance—are not at your school to spread them.

However, no matter whom you become, do not forget all the identities you had to create in order to get there. I cannot remember what I was like at five, but thankfully I can remember how I was in middle school and in high school. When I graduate from UTM I will remember how I am now, lying on my bed and writing this message to you all.

Our identities are steps in a staircase and it is important to take each one so we do not trip as we make it towards the top.