Investing in more than just ‘you do you’: how Simone Biles taught me to be my first self

The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this past August.

People across the world tuned in to their TVs each night watching gold-medal hopefuls: Michael Phelps, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Usain Bolt and Gabby Douglas, to name a few.

I was one of those people who sat on the couch each night, waiting for a new star to emerge, and I was not disappointed. Simone Biles, one of the “Final Five” from the American women’s gymnastics team, was the one to pique my interest.

Biles, a 4-foot-9, 19-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, won four gold medals, including the Women’s Individual All-Around and the Women’s Vault.

After her successes in Rio, people began comparing her to other world-famous athletes.

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” Biles said, according to CNN. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”

Biles’ statement struck me in a way that no other saying has before. I never thought I could relate to an Olympic athlete. I am the first me. There may be others with the same name, but I am the first me.

We are often taught sayings like, “There is no one else like you,” “BeYOUtiful” and “You do you,” but are we actually living by those sayings? I know I don’t.

I started taking Biles’ statement to heart. If I wanted to do something, I was going to do it.

I enjoy doing cliche things. On the first day of school, I took a first-day-of-school picture. I like watching Nicholas Sparks films, even though they make me cry. I like my wedding board on Pinterest, and a lot of my actual wedding will be DIY. When I turn 22, I will most likely post a photo with the caption, “I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 22,” (thanks, Taylor Swift).

The beginning of the semester is officially underway, and we each have an opportunity to grow.

If you want to become involved, become involved whether you join Student Support, become a devotional usher or join a campus association.

For some of us, this is our first semester away from home. For those students, take the opportunity to figure out who you are. Try different things. Maybe even try something you might be scared of. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re being the first you.

For others, this is our last semester here, and we’re about to enter the professional workforce. For those students, submit that application to your dream job. Remember the BYU-Idaho education you earned and lived and use it in your future. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re being the first you.

Since I started trying to live by the “I’m the first me” mentality, I have felt more confident in myself. I am not as worried what people think about me, what I wear or what I want to be when I graduate.

No matter where we are in our lives, we can all strive to be a better person, or the “first.”

So, here’s to a new semester! Be the first you.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll