I graduated college in December 2015, a couple of months ago. I was ready. I thought I was ready. In college, I participated in clubs, held officer roles and obtained several internships. I worked hard and put myself out for great opportunities. I therefore believed that once the new year hit, I would have things exactly as I want. How could I not? I deserved it.
But things don’t occur exactly the way you expect it and that’s okay. What we have to come to understand is that sometimes what we have right now is enough.
To those graduating this month or next month, to all those who aren’t completely certain about everything in life, to myself when I have moments when I want a different life, remember this:
Be kind to Yourself
We can put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves credit for how far we’ve come. I feel fortunate to have found a job right after college. I’m passionate about media and empowering women. I saw a job position that pertained to that, applied and I received an offer. It’s what I want yet initially, I wasn’t satisfied because the work isn’t a full-time position. I wasn’t guaranteed sponsorship. I told myself I’m supposed to do better than this. Instead of appreciating and celebrating the fact that I’m in a company that I’m passionate about the mission of the organization, I was focused on how things weren’t perfect.
In the midst of my anxieties, I had lunch with a co-worker. There were things she said that touched me and changed my perspective on how I view my life and myself. She said she had recently come to a stage where she was evaluating things in her life. She had to learn to speak to herself as a friend. To think about how much she’s done. How hard she’s worked and then be kind to herself. We often forget to be kind to ourselves. It’s easier to display love to others. But we have to treat ourselves with love by acknowledging and celebrating our efforts.
Life is Unpredictable
The truth is that no matter how much of an A student you were in college, no matter how much you think you’ve got it all figured out, you can’t predict life. I know that I’ve always cared about women’s issues. However, I couldn’t predict that for my first job, I would have the opportunity to work for an organization that focused on those needs.
I’ve attended conferences for an organization dedicated to career development: taking notes and absorbing as much as I could. I couldn’t imagine that I’d get the chance to moderate a panel discussion for them. Then another opportunity to be a speaker.
Being present is important during graduation season because it’s easy to ruminate about our future, the next step. After all, that seems to be the main topic of conversation. It’s what your parents want to know about. Yet, right where we are, this moment is all we have access to. As long as we keep focusing on the future, we lose sight of what’s right in front of us. We don’t appreciate where we are on our journey now which is vital because that leads us to this Future we ruminate over. We have to be present and recognize the joy and beauty of our lives as it is right now.
No one’s Starting Point is The Same
It’s easy to get stuck in comparisons. We want to know what everyone is doing after graduation. We pay close attention to the status updates of the graduate school our friends are attending, the internship someone obtained, the new job he/she will be beginning. We then start to question our starting point. Why didn’t I get into that school? How come I don’t have an internship? How come I haven’t found my dream job yet? Comparing your life to others does nothing but waste your time because each and every one of us is on their own different journey. We are all running our own race. Your destiny is not the same as your friend and that’s fine.
Take a deep breath and remind yourself it’s okay. You might not have a job offer yet. You might not be sure about getting your “dream internship.” That doesn’t mean that the things you want won’t happen. I remember once feeling sad about not getting the opportunity to intern at a news station. I had the interview but I didn’t get it. I cried. Yet, now I realize that I’m passionate about using my communication skills at a non-profit. I didn’t get what I thought would be my dream internship. I’m alright.
To those of you who will be graduating next month, remember that it’s a new beginning. We don’t know where life is going to take us. Let’s not be entirely consumed with the uncertainty that we neglect to enjoy the journey.