by Megan Islin, Reading University Jewish Society president
I’m Megan, and I’m 20 years old and I’m still trying to find my label. Oh! #andJewish.
Whilst interning at UJS, I spent a lot of time looking into the campaign #LABELFREE #andJewish and it made me think about myself and how I identify. Each person in the #LABELFREE #andJewish campaign videos are eloquent and clear as they deliver their story, each one more interesting and thought provoking than the next. Grace, a transgender strong woman. Ed, a brave navy officer. Catherine, an empowering sportswoman. And Alyson, an edgy nurse. Each individual spoke about their story and how they’re using labels to be confident and to express their unique identity.
The other day, I read an extremely insightful piece written by Hannah Brady, UJS President, where she wrote about her own story with labels and her identity. It got me thinking about how I identify. Who am I? What am I? Where do I stand in the grand scheme of things?
Like most other students, I’ve been through stages in my life where I’ve had no clue what to do with my life. I still don’t but I’m getting there, and that’s okay.
We’re asked from a young age to label ourselves, for example, when I was young I would say “I have brown hair, I have brown eyes and I’m a girl.” As I got older, I labelled myself as a professional actress, (I’m still a drama queen) but as time evolved, so did I. Growing older still I wanted to be a Doctor, so I labelled myself ‘Doctor’. Then briefly after I decided I didn’t anymore. Through my teenage years, again like a lot of others, I suffered with depression, so I labelled myself depressed. This was the hardest label to shake off, but eventually I did not identify with that label either.
Now I stand as a 20 year old Consumer Behaviour and Marketing student from Reading University who needs to find a placement. Throughout all the applications, I have to describe myself. Who are you? Why do you want this placement? Why are you a good applicant for this placement? Again, I have no idea.
But do you know what I do know?
I’m Megan Islin. I’m 20 years old and I’m still trying to find my label. Oh! #andJewish.