We all know that college is a period in our lives filled with awesome memories. Four years of amazing friendships, late night trips to the night owl, partying on a Tuesday, and studying all night because you procrastinated too long… College is constantly referred to as “the best 4 years of your life.” You were so excited and nervous when you stepped foot on campus for the first time as a freshman, and now, in the blink of an eye, graduation is fast approaching and there is nothing that you can do to stop it. College was an amazing 4 years of your life, you’re sure. But the best? The best is debatable.
Everybody is always asking you what you will do next. And maybe you know, maybe you don’t. Graduate school, work, travel, beginning the job hunt… everything seems like a giant, terrifying blur. Well the truth is, there is no right or wrong answer for what you decide. For the first time in your life, you are in full control. You are steering the wheel, and your options are limitless.
So whether you are fully embracing graduation or are still in complete denial, the post-graduation period is full of big life decisions and a whole lot of uncertainty. This can be very stressful for college grads. It may be filled with tears and empty longing for the good times spent with your best friends and for the no-doubt crazy memories that shaped you into the individual you are today. But, this time can also be filled with sheer excitement. For the first time in your life, you can do anything that you want! You have earned your degree, and now you have your ticket to make your mark on the world.
Here’s an analogy that might help you out. When we exercise, we are intentionally putting stress on our bodies and damaging our muscle fibers. After our workouts, our bodies repair themselves and grow stronger, creating additional muscle fibers to be able to take on larger loads of stress in the future. Like exercise, life can be very stressful. However, without a challenge—without breaking down those fibers and undergoing all that stress—we cannot grow, learn, and become stronger.
The key to the real world is to stay positive and optimistic. Nobody is alone in this process. Feeling sad is normal; having a support system is critical. But that pit you feel in your stomach means your college experience was so meaningful it hurts to let go. Your time spent in undergrad will always be a part of you.
Embrace your next move, because you do not know what the future holds. A geographical move, an advanced degree, your dream job… Go after your goal and never give up. But first remember: if you want to change the world, you have to be strong enough to embrace your fears (and in this case, graduate). Congratulations to all the graduates! You guys are going to rock it out there.