It’s that time of year again – time that kids are graduating, parents are freaking out, and everybody’s telling you what to think about it.
I don’t feel like I’m in any position to tell a college graduate what they need to know. What do I have figured out exactly? Not much, feels like.Â
But then I realize that, on paper at least, I am exactly who I looked up to then.Â Which should tell you how little I knew.Â
So here are a few things I wish I’d understood.
The people you love right now won’t all stay in your life. This is hard to hear but it’s true. You’re going to look back at pictures from college and not remember the names of the people in them. But here’s the thing: some of them will stay, and one of the most difficult but most important things you can do is figure out who those people will be and how to keep them close. They are what matters.
You will not be a failure because things will be hard. I was nervous about my first job after graduation, and I was right to be. I cried on the way to work and on the way home every day for the first six months. I was lonely, fathoms out of my depth and miserable. But after that, it got better – way, way better. It set me up for good things, and it turns out that I learned more in those six months than I ever would have any other way. I definitely wouldn’t have signed up for it, but I’m so glad I had that experience. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It just means it’s hard.
Nobody has it figured out. No matter who you admire, they were confused, they had a plan but other things happened, they were disappointed, they felt like they were off track, they ended up someplace unexpected. I found that realization terrifying. Nobody else knows what they’re doing either?? It’s true, though. And there’s something to be said for realizing we’re all in this together.
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