Middle School & High School were not very good experience.
College was great for me, but temporary and artificial (in that it does not resemble real life).
Being halfway independent (pay most of my way, living with family) was a tough lesson but a good one.
Being completely on my own? Yikes.
I think, in how our modern American culture works, one does not truly know oneself until you have been completely submerged in real life: living in one's own place, buying groceries, trying not to get cheated by a sly Comcast sales rep, et cetera. Yes, a young person may know who they are in Christ, but they do not know how their personality will take shape when the pressure of this world in their entirety are applied to it.
Me, for instance. I've always had an emotional side and an analytic side; in college my analytic side did not get much air. I majored in theater and had friends around me constantly. I live with them and we could hang out on a whim. We had church and classes together. It was wonderful, because many difficult factors of real life were not in the equation.
Then I did my hike and came home to work and look for a job. Woah, what are these? Bills? I don't like 'em. And I've got to put together a what? A resume? Gross. Someone give me a job already.
It was time to let my neglected other half get some air. He stretched his muscles and worked out some and he and Emotional Side started to get along much better.
Then I moved to Staunton and was renting a room; Analytic Side became pretty important. Then he got promoted when I moved into The Apartment. I described it to my brother this way: I'm now functioning one third analytic (like Dad), one third emotional (like Mom), and one third Freakish Mental Brain Baby that we won't really be able to discern the true form of til it stews for a while in this Stock Pot of Life.
I realize that was a highly unfortunate mixed metaphor. But it's my brain, so I'm just gonna leave it there.
In other words, who I am going to be for the rest of my life is coming into focus in these next few months. My personality won't change, per say, but I will be learning how I function in the real world. I won't call it my "true self" as it's just the one born of this situation (that is, independence; to say it is one's "true self" to be this way would be to say that anyone who depends on someone else to function is not their "true self"; that is found in Christ), but because I don't plan on become dependent on someone else til they're changing my Depends it will be the dominant one.