Here’s my ideal happy ending with college: Hi, I’m Ella, I’m graduating and I know exactly where I’m going with my life. I’ve made it through my student loans and look at me say this while I flip my hair at you with my perfectly-painted-never-chipped-nails-because-I am-just-hashtag-flawless.
Yes, that is what would happen to me if unicorns were real, if fish could ride bicycles, and if I were Beyoncé (yes I know she has the same hours in a day as we do but I’ve decided she’s a robot).
Anyway, since I cannot attest to ANY of that being valid except maybe the part about Beyoncé being a robot, here is what I can attest to.
I have no clue what I’m doing. Shocking. Bet you’ve never heard a college student worry about that before. But really, I freak out about my future every single day the same way our parents freaked out whenever they dropped us off at preschool. Except this time, now I’m just scared of freaking my parents out because time has dropped me off at a place called my future and I have no idea what I’m doing there. I just wish someone could point their fingers and say to me, “Hey! This is what you’re doing. This is how you’re going to get there. And this is how the rest of your life is going to play out.” (Seriously, our lives being navigated like a GPS system would be such an amazing thing to have, oh my, especially in the dating department.) Because boom! Magic. Here I am sitting in Vogue’s office being the real-life Carrie Bradshaw.
OK our lives will never be that easy. We can’t all be Paris Hilton and have our future spoon-fed to us. But just because it isn’t going to be easy doesn’t mean we should be scared of what we don’t know.
By senior year, college becomes this nice (and extremely expensive) security blanket. Here I am doing things. I’m involved in clubs. I have my friends. I know my way around and I’m comfortable. But in about six months, all the things that wrapped me up in that blanket are going out the window and I’ll be in a whole new territory known as post-grad life. The “real” world people apparently live in.
I will say this, I refuse to believe college is the best four years of our lives. I mean come on, that’s just depressing! I would like to think that my life is more than red solo cups, sweaty house parties, and guys that are more loyal to their college meal plans than they have ever been to me. If that is supposed to be the best four years of my life, then maybe I had too high expectations?
I mean, I do have these big dreams that are bigger than all five feet of me and my shoe collection combined. But I can’t let being scared of what I want stop me from trying. I’ve got the whole college thing figured out, now it’s time to get the whole adult thing figured out.
I can’t give you concrete reasons not to be scared of our future, but I can assure you this.
Being scared of life after college is just the fear of growing up that we eventually have to face. Remember how terrifying and daunting MIDDLE SCHOOL was? That said, I’m am so happy I grew out of certain phases in my life. Like when I went ombre with my hair and when I thought I was so misunderstood and a future marriage counselor (L-O-L). Now my hair is tamed, I’ve moved on from my misunderstood MySpace days, and I am terrified of relationships which is why I write about them not why I should be counseling them.
I could write a whole book in itself of the things I was scared of, the things I thought I was going to do. And another on what I wound up accomplishing, which would read out as way more than I ever imagined. Corny? Yes. Scary? Not anymore.
Things are going to happen in our lives that are out of our control whether we are ready or not. That’s inevitable. We can’t press pause on our lives and fast forward or rewind. We just gotta go with it. Make mistakes. Improvise. That may not be a point blank answer as to why we shouldn’t be scared for life after college, but that’s partially because I don’t have a point blank answer for where I’m going once school is over. But I know I’m going somewhere, because I refuse to let myself have any other option.
I promise you there is a life beyond beer pong and bodycon skirts. It may be scary (even scarier than the feeling of wearing/looking at yourself in a bodycon skirt). But it will be thrilling. It will be unpredictable, and yet exactly the way things were supposed to be.
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