Screen shot 2013-04-03 at 11.02.45 PM~~~ i love college students all the time, but i think i love them the most during their seasons of growth. i swear there's nothing richer than walking alongside people as they become a little less child and a little more adult. it's like watching a movie in super slow-motion, or like finally being able to see what actually happens in between episodes. life happens. and life is awesome, but also life is hard sometimes.

one particularly notable season of growth comes in the weeks prior to, during, and after college graduation. i mean, does any other season feel more awkward? your life changes forever, but you have no idea what that means. there isn't a whole lot that is expected of you, at least not like there has been thus far in your life. the world is literally your oyster and that sounds like a friggin' nightmare. personally, i was so overwhelmed with all the choices and options that i just turned them all down because it felt like too much work to just decide on something. i was most definitely the last of all of my friends to get her shit together, and i felt abandoned by my emotions and left completely alone. everyone looked so calm, and i was drenched in sweat. i didn't know a lot going into that season, and i did not have a whole lot of truth-sayers speaking into my life at that time. it took a lot of scrapes and bruises as i not-so-gracefully made my way through those months. but i think i came out stronger, with a little more clarity.

i don't know why it's so hard to go through drastic change like that, but this is what i do know:

it's okay not to have a plan.

it's okay to feel overwhelmed.

it's okay to not choose the sensible option, or the more solid paycheck.

and it's also okay to choose both of those.

it's okay to listen to your parents, but it's also okay to gently remind them that you don't agree with them.

it's fine to take the summer off and just decompress. and it's also fine to jump start on that MBA.

it's okay to scream when someone asks you what you're doing after graduation, and it's perfectly acceptable to burst into tears any subsequent time this occurs.

you are afforded an opportunity to fully experience your emotions; please don't suppress them just to pretend to be "normal." there is no normal.

of course things are going to be okay and blah blah. BUT THAT'S NOT HELPFUL RIGHT NOW. sometimes life is just hard. and that's okay.

so my advice is this:

let yourself be scared. let yourself be vulnerable. find a friend you can tell all your anxious thoughts to, and ask that friend not to tell you how things WILL be okay, but to allow things to just BE right now. he/she will understand.

write down what you're feeling so that you can get it out onto paper, onto some tactile substance that will make it feel validated for at least one moment. and as you face each fear or conquer each task, cross it off. in sharpie.

allow yourself to experience the depths and heights of the emotions of this season, and let yourself learn how you handle change. ask for help from friends, from your people. they want to help you process all of this crazy.

forgive yourself. you've never done this before; you're not supposed to be an expert at it. let yourself off the hook.

 

raise a glass to the person you are, and to the person you have yet to become.