Deciding for yourself after college 

We have all read it in our yearbooks, the infamous farewell: “never change!” usually followed by praises and compliments.   But why shouldn’t we change?  Of course were going to change.  We’ve got a potential 70 years ahead of us.

Change reminds me of college.  College is interesting but post-college is when things really get interesting. [Insert name here] is getting married next month at 22 years old, [Insert name here] is pregnant (no you aren’t dreaming), and then there’s [insert name here] who can’t move on from the weekday binge drinking, bar fights and one night stands.

Isn’t it scary how easy those inserts were?  Everyone’s going in different directions now.  Someone’s next big goal is someone else’s biggest fear.  Some of us are thinking “congratulations” while others are laughing and seriously questioning another’s sanity.

As you can see, not everyone will agree with the changes you’re making.  If you are in your twenties, you are surely feeling the push and pull in society’s game of tug-of-war.  What is the next big step? Better yet, which step is the right step?  There is no right step for everyone. Don’t worry about what everyone else is up to; just do what feels right for you.

I have gone through so many changes that I have been struggling to decide which one to share.  For a lot of these changes, such as my prior ability to throw down ten vodka shots in one night to now being in bed by 10:30, I keep second guessing myself and asking, “was that a change or just maturity taking place?”  If growing is maturing, and maturing is changing then maybe changing means you’re growing.  And even when changes don’t seem like good ones at the time, they can turn into something good later.

I think the best way I can relate to this is when I decided to quit my college volleyball team before my senior year.  At the time it didn’t seem like a good decision.  After all, we never learned that quitting is a good thing.  In fact, I learned that quitting meant failure.  Even though I was scared and unsure about my decision to quit, I did it anyway.  I did it because it was the only action that meant following my heart.  I couldn’t listen to what everyone else said, compare my success to anyone else’s, or conform to any idea about what the right thing to do was.

For a little while, not being a part of the team felt like a low point in my life.  Even though I felt relieved that I stopped doing something I no longer felt fully dedicated to, I was convinced that this meant I was lost.

I knew I had to find something else to be passionate about so I started job hunting.  Soon enough, I landed a position teaching English to families in a low-income area.  This was such a life changing experience for me.  I learned that I was wonderful with children (something I always doubted myself on) and that I had a niche for teaching adults.  That experience has in many ways shaped who I am today and I honestly wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I now realize that I didn’t quit.  I simply moved on and accepted that I was changing.

Through the past couple of years I have learned that life isn’t one big change but a million little ones.  I change every single day and so do you.  Whether a novel changed your perspective on a topic or a friend has enlightened you about something you didn’t know before, every little experience in your life will change you in some way.

Changes don’t always happen instantly but I have found that every event, big or small, will influence who you are at some point in life.  Some changes will be great and others not so great.  But the not so great changes are bound to change too.  If it will make you happy, go against the grain and defy convention.

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