A College Student’s Stages of Identity

By Cody Candler

As someone whose sense of identity resembles Colorado’s sense of weather, I find it deeply comforting to know that the topic of identity is well-researched. In the article Eight Stages, Two Paths: Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Of Development, Rifka Schonfeld of the Jewish Press discusses the views of renowned psychologist and fabricator of the term “identity crisis,” Erik Erikson (below). Erickson stated that there are eight stages of our lives that determine


Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

who we are. In the fifth stage, fidelity, “Adolescents, ages thirteen through nineteen, struggle with, ‘Who am I and what can I be?’” [1]. The sixth stage, love, “can happen anytime between ages twenty and thirty-nine and is usually capped off in marriage. The essential question is, ‘Can I love?’”[1].


This seems to model my experiences rather well. I was a twit of middle schooler, as many of us were. My personality could be accurately and completely summarized as wanting to be liked. I wasn’t involved in much drama and I wasn’t much of an antagonist but I was willing to change anything from my mannerisms to my taste in music to fit in. Then as I transitioned to high school, I saw myself develop into an individual. There were so many more people–I wasn’t afraid that I would be alone if I was an individual. Along with that came a personal sense of morals,

College followed a similar structure, but on a larger scale. When I was one semester into my college experience, I met a girl who I loved. My identity gradually became less self-focused. I’m now two years into that relationship. I’ve recently found that the best way to remember who I am is to spend some time with this amazing person.  I can’t validate Erikson’s other six stages of development, but I know fidelity and love describe me well.




[1] Schonfeld, Rifika. “Eight Stages, Two Paths: Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages Of Development.” The Jewish Press RSS. The Jewish Press, 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.

[2] “10 Interesting Erik Erikson Facts.” My Interesting Facts RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.




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