(This article was first published on HerCampus, an online magazine for young women in college, in February of 2018)
May 12th is coming in fast, especially for those for whom it will stand as their graduation day. While it is a day we look forward to, there is a tiny bit of dread associated with graduating college. The dichotomy of emotions swings between excitement and nervousness for the next chapter of our lives. Whilst excited for new surroundings, new opportunities, new routines, and new experiences, I find myself nervous. I’m nervous that I “won’t make it.” The insecurity stems from being hit over the head for the last four years with a stinking fish that yells “real life is so much harder than college,” “there are so few jobs in that field,” “you’ll have to live at home for years,” and the mantras go on. I’m not entirely sure if this has always been the way of talking to the youth, but it is so discouraging and we’re left with a generation who doubts their capability to enter the workforce and general society.
Life outside of college is markedly different than the past four years, there is no denying this. However, preaching hardship instead of work ethic is a questionable choice in my eyes. And it bears a lot of judgment. We live in a different socioeconomic society than we did thirty years ago, hell it’s different than just seven or eight years ago. Luckily, we as human beings are highly adaptable creatures that transform with time. We did so, as seniors of high school into college, when we went from living at home to living on our own. Were we not also told that college is so much harder than high school? Yet, here we are, just months away from graduating, clearly proving that we were up to that challenge. We adapt, we change, we learn.
Have faith in yourself, because you have proven to be capable. You have overcome every obstacle in your life thus far. It has been hard and challenging, but you have the tools to solve the problems that came your way. We are capable. Believing in this is harder than just telling yourself that you’re capable. Not a day goes by where I don’t doubt if I will ever be able to make a living at a job I love. But when I look back at the hard times I’ve gone through in the past four years, times I was so sure I wouldn’t make it through, times so hard that dropping out of college seemed like the best option, times so challenging I cried in frustration on my bathroom tiles; when I look back at those times, I draw strength from knowing I still stand here today.
Have faith in yourself, because you are capable of great things. Believe that what you define as great things, those are the goals you have the tools to reach. They will be different for all, they will be challenging just like college has been. But if you believe that can evolve and adapt, like you have done over the past four years; if you continuously work at having faith in your skills – then “real life” will be just another challenge to tackle, not a hardship to overcome.