One can find their place in society much the same way as Stephen did. Unintentionally he went back and forth between extremes until he found his own preference. Figuring out what one wants to do with their life can be confusing, especially since there are so many opportunities in the world, but giving each a chance and finding one that suits one's personality and attitude is the best thing to do.
Many people think Stephen went from one extreme, wanting prostitutes, to another extreme, a life of celibacy as a priest, were done on purpose, on course to finding his own happy medium. The same people might also say Stephen purposely chose a happy medium as not to subject himself to either extreme; being in the middle lets him experience a little of both extremes.
Different people might say that his oblique search for his place in society was brought on from when he was very young with his artistic vision.
He looked at things differently then others boys around him and he knew that. He always had extra questions about the simplest of matters and constantly thought about what was wrong and right and how it lead to double-standards. This is seen when he is asked if he kisses his mother at night. No matter what his answer is he still gets laughed at and this remains in thoughts for a while. His artistic vision can probably reflect his incessant habit of always having an opposing opinion to his schoolmates even if it was something small such as who he thought the greatest writer was.
In his school Stephen seemed to be told how he was supposed to think and do things and in turn saw his family unable to follow the strict Catholicism taught in his
school. This guided him in his decision for his future plans since he felt he was isolated from others because of the way he thought and did things.
When looking at his decision for where he fit in society one should not ignore the fact that his family life had an impact on his choice. Had Stephen not been so sensitive it would not have bothered him so much how little he gained emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually from the Irish nationalism surrounding him and his religious background.
To begin his life as an artist, his final decision concerning his place in society he realizes he cannot stay in the environment where he is seen as anti-social instead of artistic. He chooses to leave his homeland of Ireland and go to the Continent and find his artistic soul where it would be accepted.
When one wants to find their place in society, one should look at the process Stephen went through, from his struggle with his religion in school and the start of his isolation from his family. Stephen's outcome was just to be happy and if that meant leaving home find a soul than one should take his strong individuality as an example.