Graduation season is supposed to be a joyous time.
A time where college and even high school students across the country can rejoice and reflect on their journey and prepare for the utopia that is supposed to be the “real world” where we are expected to land high paying jobs in our fields and live stress-free and joyously until we take our last breath.
Instead, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While you may be excited to close a chapter, you may also be experiencing feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and even fear.
Not to mention the constant, annoying ass question of “What’s next? or What’s your plan after graduation?” constantly coming up 25/8 from friends, family members and even strangers you meet.
It can be frustrating. If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time being able to enjoy your transition because what’s next is constantly on your mind and you may feel like unless you have a plan that is concrete and goes from A-Z, you’re a failure.
But in lieu of practicing no negative self-talk, here is a love letter for you, for me, and anyone else who may need this.
Dear future graduate,
Before you let your anxiety and fear take over you, congratulate yourself on even making it this far. I’m not sure what type of odds you had to overcome, but I’m sure you fought like hell and now your hard work is finally about to pay off. You DESERVE to be proud of yourself.
Another thing I want you to know is that it’s perfectly normal to be scared. How can we afford not to be afraid when we’ve been living our life in a routine for the last few years? There are so many what-ifs to think about, but don’t think that you are weird for dreading change. Change does not come easy but it is inevitable. Allow yourself the room to feel what you feel but do not dwell there forever. After all, like Will Smith recently said in an interview “everything we want is on the other side of fear.”
I also know how hard it’s been for you to maintain your composure after constantly getting asked the same questions about your future. Some people are bold enough not to believe in you and while others may mean well trying to help you “plan your future” it still does not take away the anxiety you may be feeling. I saw this meme on Twitter and I’ll say it to you: Before others had an opinion, you had a purpose. Therefore, you don’t have to announce your moves to anybody until you feel good and ready to. Your future is exactly that, YOURS so anybody else’s opinion of it is irrelevant.
Speaking of moves, it’s okay not to know your next one. We are all so obsessed with knowing the future that we forget to enjoy the right now. I myself am so guilty of this. But it’s okay not to know. Just because your graduation may be days or weeks away and you have nothing concrete lined up doesn’t mean that you never will. It doesn’t mean that you are a failure. At this point in life, you get to make up your own rules. So LIVE. Try to take things one day at a time, because what is meant for you will have its way of finding you.
Maybe you’ll come back a year from now and read this and still not feel any better. Who knows how the real world will hit us when we finally cross that stage? But have no fear, I am sure that you have the ability to adapt. After all, you did survive college. You will be successful. Set some goals, achieve them as best as you can and if they aren’t completed by the deadline you gave to yourself, just continue to work at them.
I’m proud of you future graduate. Things may seem so unclear now, but trust me you got this.