Monday, May 19, 2014

Cry me a river

I cried at my graduation. There. I said it.

Let me explain. Last Friday, I graduated from Louisiana State University. It was probably one of the best days of my life, even though I cried during the processional of my commencement ceremony.

I started my "big girl" job today, and I must say, I swore that I would never be the person to start work the Monday after graduation. But like everything else in life, we make plans, and God laughs. When I told people that I was starting to work the week after college, many couldn't believe me. In fact, for a while, I couldn't believe myself. In the past 3 days, however, I've thought a lot about what it means to graduate, and my college experience as a whole.

I don't think I was necessarily "ready" for the real world; I don't think anyone ever really is. I wasn't chomping at the bit to leave college behind, but I also realized that in this entire weekend of closure, growth and change, I never once felt a feeling of sadness. And I think that's because I did everything I set out to do in college. I gave it my all, and because of that, I received so much in return. That's why on graduation day, I cried tears of joy, tears of pride, tears filled with hope.

It sounds so cliché, but I am a firm believer in getting out what you put in. I put my everything into my time at LSU, and I'm looking forward to doing so with everything else that comes my way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

Tomorrow, I will be walking across the stage in my cap and gown. Let me emphasize that: tomorrow, I will be graduating college. To say I’m apprehensive would be an understatement.

Throughout my life, I’ve looked at every experience as having a cushion. For example, after middle school, I knew that there was a cushion of years in high school to fall back on. In high school, I knew I had four years of college ahead. Freshman year of college, I knew there was a three-year cushion left, and so forth. But now that my college experience is witling down to its very end, I realize that for the first time in my life, there is no cushion. I guess you could argue that the “real world” is a cushion. But is it, really? To me, the real world is so vague, and I’m heading toward it whether I like it or not.

Those who know me know that I love a good schedule and plan, and I’m realizing that I’ve finally reached the point in my life where every moment does not have a definitive time stamp. I won’t be in a certain job for X number of years, I won’t be married in X number of years, I won’t have a vacation for X number of months…and the list goes on and on. For the first time in our lives, we have the choice to really, and I mean really, do whatever we want, for however long we want—and that is both awesome and scary…but at the current moment, it’s mainly just scary.

Because of the lack of a cushion, if you will, I have so many questions circling in my head. How often will I see my friends? What direction will my career take? Am I going to be as involved in the community as I was in college? Who will I keep in touch with? Who will I lose touch with? These questions all pose the very real truth that it’s really all up to me now to make those decisions. I am no longer going to be living in the structured bubble where educational growth, friends and leadership opportunities are all accessible at my fingertips. 

And now more than ever, it seems like everyone has comfort and advice to give us to ease our apprehension. If you pull up your Facebook feed, I’m sure someone has shared another “25 things you should know as a 20-something” or “8 truths about the real world” list. While all of this is fine and dandy, I think being scared can be somewhat of a good thing. I don’t think anyone has passed this milestone in life without hesitating about what the future holds—even if just a tiny bit. Just like a kid learning to ride a bike without training wheels, we need to learn for ourselves what this new, vague cushion of our lives will hold. And while we may receive guidance along the way, we are ultimately the ones navigating the ride.

Just like every other cushion, era, moment—whatever you may call it—that we may not want to end, we can take solace in knowing that everything always has a way of working itself out.

Congratulations to all of my peers who have/ will be graduating soon. We really did it. Now go out there and rock it.