As graduation season is upon us and I get the pleasure of working on a college campus, there is no avoiding the excited buzz and anxious energy of soon-to-be college graduates. It is really hard to believe I was in their position only a year ago.
Being a sentimental person, I soaked up every moment of my last few weeks at school. Those memories are ones I playback in my mind whenever I need a little dose of home away from home. The last time I stepped out of an exam and couldn’t believe it was actually over, the last few mornings I could wake up and crawl into bed with my best friend sleeping in the room two steps away, and the last time I skipped class to lay on the quad with the family I had made for myself in just 4 short years.
However, in the last couple months leading up to graduation I was also in a complete panic to figure life out before the last sentences of that chapter could be written. In my mind I had ultimately failed at college if I didn’t have a solid stone to step on before I put that cap and gown on.
Luckily, I had secured an amazing internship opportunity for that summer and I was to move and start just two and a half weeks after graduation. While I don’t regret getting that experience in any way, shape, or form, from that moment on I never stopped. I went to working three jobs over the summer to pouring over full-time job applications left and right. I was throwing applications and interviewing for positions I had zero interest in, and they probably could tell since I didn’t get any of those positions (thank god).
So, my regret?
Not giving myself a chance to breathe and reflect that I had just accomplished something pretty damn awesome. And for also letting myself panic to the point that, for some time, I had given up on believing in myself, and my ability to find work that I had passion for.
What was I doing? I let the anxiety of the unknown consume me. I was flinging every door open desperately searching for someone to tell me what was next.
But…doors we never knew existed open to show us paths we’ve never thought of. Doors slam in our face unexpectedly. Sometimes we trip over the threshold as soon as one foot is in, and other times we’re not ready to walk through any of those doors at all.
It was time for a come-to-Jesus moment with myself. I had to refocus and know it was okay to not have the answer. There is no script, or ‘right way’ to go right after college. There is no book that says you must be making ‘x’ amount of dollars. I needed to decide for myself what was next, not let what I thought was supposed to happen next determine my next move. It wasn’t until I did this, that finally a door led me to a position I love and is allowing me to pursue my professional goals.
Maybe you don’t have it all figured out when you cross that stage? SO WHAT. Don’t be afraid to take a second for yourself. Don’t be afraid to try and fail, and don’t be discouraged too quickly. Somehow things have a way of working out and the reality is that 99.9% of the time – it’s not how we ever had planned them to.
The only thing you HAVE to be right now? Is a soon-to-be college graduate, so be in the moment. Enjoy it. Congratulations. 🙂