Here it is. The year-long mark on my life post undergrad (basically… it’s dead week this week). It’s absolutely mind-blowing to think I’ve been out of college for a year. I still find myself remembering it and referring to it as something that just happened. The feeling of uncertainty and wariness is so familiar that I feel like I just got rid of it. (And it you’re wondering what I mean by all that, refer back to my very first post). The frequency of engagement announcements has only increased (exponentially), and this year I am beginning to receive graduation announcements from children that I used to babysit (WHAT?!).
I guess one benefit of going to grad school at the same institution that was your alma mater for undergrad, is that you get to watch your peers in the class below you begin to make the same transitions you did the year before. (Although, it has made me even more nostalgic than before, so perhaps benefit isn’t the best word). However, I’m noticing the same patterns and feelings there, and I realized if I could sit down with myself one year ago and prepare myself, I’d have a few things to say.
Something that has been very important about my life over the past year has been that the Lord has done a lot of teaching me about how to trust Him. A few weeks ago I actually posted about that, choosing not to post the link where anyone could read it just because I knew my newsfeeds and other forms of social media were already inundated with people’s scripture postings and spiritual encouragements. Again, if you want to see that post then scroll down to the last one. (It’s basically about how I think we don’t give God enough credit for caring about the small things and don’t pray about them enough). Nevertheless, keep in mind that this trust+pray theme has been very prevalent during my 23rd year of life.
So here’s my list:
1. It’s never the end of the world. You may not know exactly where you’re going next, and you may find out only a few weeks before you’re supposed to be there. That’s okay. If you prayed about it and trust God, then do yourself a favor and actually trust God. Worrying is not going to expedite His answer. Even if I hadn’t gotten into grad school and needed to find a job, I’m not an orphan in this world. My parents could have helped me for the time that it took to apply for jobs. (I get that most people are like, “Moving home with my parents, are you crazy?”… but seriously? You’re wouldn’t be homeless.)
2. You’re not going to stop feeling old. So just get used to it. And relatively in comparison to the rest of the population, you aren’t that old. Also, you still have a lot to learn. Don’t freak out. You just aren’t a child anymore. Sad? A little. But it’s where you are so be wise and make the best of it.
3. You’re going to have different friends than what you had in college. It’s not a bad thing. Basically, if you’re like me and you loved all of your college friends and wanted to cry when they left, then you have a choice. Sit and feel sad and only be friends with your college friends (that you might see once in a while), or go out on a limb and makes new friends. It’s much different when you get into the working world or you’re in grad school, because you end up making friends with many of your coworkers and classmates. I have made some of the sweetest, and best friends during grad school that I could’ve ever asked for. In the past, (I won’t lie), I was afraid of being friendly with other people I didn’t know so well, only to find out that they weren’t like me or they were crazy/mean/not trustworthy. I also didn’t make friends with my classmates in undergrad (mainly because I was busy). But it doesn’t hurt to go out on a limb, and get to know other people. There’s actually more people out there like you than you think.
4. Although you’re a planner, start making rough sketches instead of definite drawings. Duh, it’s good to be organized and to have a plan. But in reality it’s better to be flexible with your life plan, know what you want to accomplish, a few ways of how to do it, and have a few different expectations. Just know that things change and just because your journey doesn’t go as you pictured it, doesn’t mean that God isn’t in control.
5. Start developing a better sleep schedule and learn how to quickly prepare in the mornings and bring your lunch. I haven’t been the best about this in grad school, but I wish I were better at it. While I was doing my internship at UAB on the other hand, this was very important. No starting salary is so grand that you should be factoring in expensive lunches into your budget everyday. So find a way to develop this habit.
I’m sure there are a few other, more personal things that I would tell myself. But those are the main points. The points that no one ever really covered beforehand. As I coming up on May, I’m realizing that I’m on the downslope. My final assignments will be turned in by the end of the week, and after that I will only have 9 more hours to complete in my academic career. (6 of those being a campaign, the other 3 are a design class that I’ve practically already taken). I’m coming up on the sweet days of summer, a graduation for my boyfriend (woo hoo freedom from being a cadet!), and the ultimate job hunt to begin my career. It’s interesting because come August, I will be at the helm of yet another “beginning” with all of its uncertainties. But I’m positive that there will be less anxieties involved during this go round. I mean, I’ve gone to get my master’s so that I’d be more prepared this time.
Overall, I don’t feel more mature or wise than last year. I just feel like I’ve learned a little bit more. Mostly, I know that it’s going to be okay. Why? Jesus loves me. I have eternal life. Nothing on this earth will ever be perfect, but I have the promise of eternity with a loving Savior to hold onto. Until then, I’m just doing what He wants me to. And He is never going to lead me astray. My life is in His hands and that’s the best that I could ever hope for.