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Identity vs.

Role Confusion

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Institution Affiliation
Identity vs. Role Confusion

The transition stage of people from teenage years to adulthood may seem overwhelming,

thus, there is a tendency that they will get confused about their placement in the society leading

them to series of insecurities in life. Self-seeking is a powerful journey that can build a strong

sense of identity and pathway towards future aspirations. During the battle stage between identity

and confusion, an individual questions oneself about who he is and then one will gradually develop

social relationships, a virtue of fidelity, and a sense of identity in the society. This is the stage

coined by Erik Erikson as identity versus role confusion. (Cherry, 2018)

How I handled Identity vs. Role Confusion Stage

Some people have established which career path to follow beforehand, while others are

still confused about what to take up. Many of the confused population are among teenagers of ages

seventeen and up. Being in this phase of life could lead to impulsive decisions that can create a big

impact in the future, that is why there are several successful people even of a young age due to

their sense of direction and goals already imprinted in their minds when they were still small, while

others are still lost, undecided, and might even feel depressed because they cannot see a future

ahead of them. According to Erik Erikson, this is only a phase to be conquered individually in our

life, all of the people will be challenged with this phase of identity versus role confusion. The same

goes by with me. I had my fair share of battles between identity and role confusion back when I

was just entering college, at the age of seventeen.

In college, due to the fact that there are a lot of possible courses to choose from, it was

difficult that time most especially when you are still unsure of your passion. For me, I like making

art and painting, thus, I considered architecture as a possibility, however, I do not want to follow
the rules of art by using rulers and tracking dimensions. Also, since my sister is already sure of

how she envisioned her future career as a doctor, I considered a medical pathway, maybe become

a doctor like her someday, but I am afraid of blood and hospitals, so I crashed out that possibility.

For me, coming from a science-based high school, the list of courses for us to choose from is really

limited only to the science and engineering field, thus, because of my uncertainty in life, I decided

to just follow an engineering career, the same as my father’s. However, I know that I do not really

want to be enrolled in this area of expertise that badly. As I started college, my journey seemed

smooth at first. I had new friends from the same course, we got close to each other by group

studying, and going to several places to go to in the city we are in. And so, after two years of that

life, we then had our first ever major subject, which turned our path to a rapid 180-degree turn.

The first major subject is like a horror movie for us, because as the higher years will say, ‘it is not

easy because it is like a screening for people deserving to pursue chemical engineering’.

After times of tension due to the horror stories said about it, it became a reality to me

because for the first time, I failed the preliminary exam, and so with the first mid-terms, but then

I realized that hard work will pay off with God’s grace. We only got two more exams for the

subject left but I was determined to pass despite the built-in mindset I had about not wanting this

course that badly and I do not like the idea of failing a subject, even for once. Luckily for me, I

passed the third exam, but it was not enough to compensate my first two failed exams. Thus, I

studied more intensively for the finals and then fortunately, by God’s grace, I passed the subject

even though it had a mortality rate of fifty percent. I learned something, though. I learned that hard

work will truly pay off if you believe you can, and so does faithfulness to the Lord. As I journeyed

further to my current career pathway, I realized further that I actually do not like the degree I am

taking in, and so does my other classmates, because we thought about what work we will do after
we graduate. I cannot envision myself for the future. There was a time when I actually failed a

subject for the first time and I did not cry about it because of the mentality that I have not taken

learning because of my lack of love for the matter, which was further added by a terror teaching

style of a professor with a very difficult exam strategy. A lot of us failed that subject, some of them

cried. What I appreciated most about this situation is that despite our lack of love for the course

study, we did not give up on it. My classmate filed a request to reopen the subject and got rejected

two times, and after the third try, the chairman reconsidered our request. After many times of

hearing no’s, with team effort and determined spirits, it was finally offered to us. For the first time

ever, a subject was opened due to the students’ determination.. I realized it then that initiative and

teamwork really pays off. Then, after being enrolled to my retake subject, I decided to put hard

work and initiative to study, which made me pass with flying colors. For all the different subjects

that I took, there I learned diligence, discipline, punctuality, etc. In fact, I labeled each professor

with each corresponding characters they impart in our minds, even though they do not know they

did. I then grasped the idea that it was actually not engineering that they are teaching us, since they

made us develop virtues to be used in the real life, the life after college.

Throughout the years in school, I then saw the beauty of the technical side of numbers and

figures, since I realized that I want to create business. I started with the stock market and had a

buy and sell business, then later incorporated my course, which is chemical engineering, to use,

since it was also mentioned by one of our professors about business and engineering being the

perfect combo. Further studying my degree course, the artistic side of me activated, thus I decided

to take time in developing my writing. I then remembered how I love writing. Keeping journals

and letters and making stories were part of my pastime. After years in college, I did evolve to
something because, even though it was an impulse decision for me to choose my career path for

college, and though I was confused about why and how I landed on that difficult situation, due to

my readings of academic and non-academic books, I did come to a conclusion that I belong to the

course I am currently taking in and I love it because it made me pave a way to discover virtues to

be used in the future, such as handling the times of failures, coping up with stressful events,

teaming up work with my colleagues, and trusting God with every situation I am in. Also, despite

the general idea of the society about how difficult it is to be enrolled as a chemical engineering

student, the virtue of time management comes at hand because I can still do my passion of writing,

and of course, incorporate business in every way possible. I actually created social relationships,

since I grew up as an introvert, but managed to gradually develop characteristics of an extrovert

person. Later on, I also developed my advocacy in life to help the society with nutrition problems

linked to quality learning, and it is so amazing because of how related it is with chemical

engineering. My confusion really turned into a sharpened identity. (Learning, 2017)

Conclusion

In conclusion, a lot of situations that people are dealing in are just challenges essential for

learning. In this world, we are bombarded with all kinds of problems to help us shape ourselves to

an advanced phase of life and into the identity we want to become. Turning role confusion into

identity might take a short or long process. As for me, my turning point was a five-year phase and

I always doubt myself if there will be an end of my tornado of confusion. Never giving up on

myself, I finally discovered the unraveling beauty of the pathway I am currently taking up and the

story about how I get from there to here. Each of our phases depends on each on of us, and yes, it

will happen over time, that confusion will surely be gone and it will surely direct you to a future

you thought you will never have. (Para, 2008)


References

Cherry, K. (2018, October 23). Identity vs. Role Confusion. Retrieved January 30, 2019
Learning, L. (2017). Psychology 172: Developmental Psychology. Santa Clarita, California:
College of the Canyons.
Para, E. A. (2008). The Role of Social Support in Identity Formation: A Literature Review.
Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology.