Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Graduation Means 4 Years Later

I graduated from the University of California, Irvine (zot zot) in 2010.  Four years later, so much has happened since my graduation, I feel like it was a lifetime ago.  Yet I can still remember it like yesterday.

I remember the anxiety of taking my first steps into the real world of careers and 9-5 work schedules.  I remember debating whether or not I had to go to grad school, whether or not that would affect my future.  I recall considering getting a teaching credential and teaching high school English.

Now, four years later, all my worries seem silly.  I'm married, working, co-own a home.  Things that seemed perpetually "down the road" at the time of graduation.  I notice some of the graduates dwelling in anxiety.  Part of me wants to tell them to not waste their time; the other part of me knows they need to learn a few things of experience like I did.  A few things like:

DON'T WASTE TIME ON THE WHAT-IF'S
You could spend an eternity wondering "What if I did that?"  Wait, let me rephrase that.  You could waste an eternity wondering.

I did not pursue a teaching career at all.  Would I have been good at it?  Probably.  Would it have been fulfilling?  Most likely.  Would I have been better off?  I don't know, but who cares?

I chose UCI over UCLA.  My life could be hugely different because I chose that school over another.  I could have different friends.  I might never have married my husband because we wouldn't have seen each other as much.  But in the end, can I really change the past anyway?  What is the point of wasting energy thinking about it?


YOU'RE NOT IN CONTROL
We also give ourselves a little too much credit. We do make the decisions and those can alter our lives, but there is plenty that is out of our control.  So do we throw caution out the window and just let life do what it will?  No, planning and responsibility have their place.  But we also need to learn to roll with the punches.

Learn flexibility in the middle of your life plans.  It isn't easy, but it's important for being able to cope with life's twists and turns.  Learn with the smaller stuff, so when something big happens, you aren't a mess.

CAREER ISN'T EVERYTHING
At the time of high school graduation, what college you picked was the big thing.  At the time of college graduating, what career you picked was the huge thing.


In reality, I've learned that its not that big of a deal after all.

Not only am I working in an industry that has nothing to do with my major and was not at all what I had anticipated, I'm still using the skills I've garnered both in life and in college at my position.  Is it what I've always dreamed? No, but life is bigger than just your job.

And sometimes you have to do what you don't necessarily enjoy doing to pay bills.  Fact of life.

LISTEN

Wisdom comes through experience, and as much as us young 'uns would like to argue otherwise, there are just some life lessons you can't learn any other way.  I wish I could tell my younger self to spend more time listening to those who have experienced more.

And don't assume that you can figure everything out yourself.  Oh wait, I need to tell my current self that.


Soli Deo Gloria.


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