May and June are quite possibly the craziest two months of the year. And not because of the Stanley Cup Playoffs/Final/NHL Draft/NHL Awards. Or Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Or weddings and babyshowers.
They are crazy months because of graduation – from high school and college – and in this post, I’m focusing on college graduation.
Because three years ago, I graduated. From college.
And this year, my sister is graduating. From college.
Our colleges were different. Our college careers were night and day. I can’t even begin to explain how different our experiences were. I can’t even begin to pronounce half of the courses she took. I can’t even begin to imagine the schedule she survived.
But I can say this, I know that she’s on the verge of new adventures. Ready to conquer her field. She may not feel that way right now, but she’s ready. Because three years ago, I wasn’t ready. But I was. More ready than I knew at the time.
When I graduated, I was on the fence. Regarding everything in my life. I was open to going wherever.
Willing to go. Willing to stay.
I needed time to feel out my path. To travel down roads, dirt and paved, long and short, narrow and harrowing. To ask and answer questions – silently and aloud. To make mistakes and master mountains. To dream and dare.
And at the time, pre-graduation and post-graduation, I wished to be past those sleepless nights. I wanted to know my path and have it paved and perfect by the day’s end. I didn’t want anything to do with uncertainty and insecurity. Fears of insufficiency and inability. Doubts of “what ifs” and “oh no’s.”
A lot of advice was thrown my direction. Wanted and unwanted.
A lot of lists were drafted and discarded. A lot of plans were made and mulled over.
Where I’m at, three years later, is not where I ever thought I’d be. It took a lot to get to this point. A lot of good. A lot of bad. A lot of joy. A lot of tears.
And though I still wonder about the future, dream and hope about life goals and ambitions, I sometimes wish I was back in that time.
Because as I listen to my sister and some other almost-college grad friends of mine, I can’t help but wish I could go back to that time in my life. To tell myself that it’ll be ok. To stop fretting and fearing. To enjoy it.
Yea. Enjoy it. Because everything in your life, up to that point, that point of walking across a stage wearing a choir robe and flat-geometrically-shaped hat, has prepared you for the rest of your life.
Every bad grade. Every late-night studying. Every project and paper. Every presentation and lab. Every friend and roommate. Every professor and RA. Every missed assignment. Every computer crash. Every lost dorm key. Every bad meal in the cafeteria. Every summer job.
And when you recive that diploma, it’s just the beginning to an end.
The beginning of job searches and internships. The beginning of grad school applications and interviews. The beginning of bills and loans. The beginning of insurance decisions and investments.
And though I sometimes wish I were past this time in my life – these three years post-college, I’m remembering those days just before graduation and right after. And I’m reminded of the things I learned. How the uncertainty taught me to trust. How the “what ifs” and “oh nos” taught me to stop and think. How my fears of insufficiency and insecurity taught me to rely on earlier successes and believe.
And what I’ve learned in those three years is that life, regardless of the phase, is all about uncertainty. All about insufficiency and insecurity. All about “what ifs” and “oh nos.”
All about moments, walking across stages, and saying to those watching, “I did it. I can do it again.”
So, as my sister prepares to walk – to graduate from an institution that has prepared her for her next step, I think the only advice I’d give her is to enjoy every stressful, joyful moment because in life, there are no perfect and paved roads.