Graduation Day

Graduation Day, CCNY 2010
Graduation Day, City College of New York 2010

It’s a strange day. Graduation day. As a child you don’t even think that far ahead; it’s something that happens to old people. In high school, it’s a rite of passage that allows you to be free of rules and confinement. In college, it’s the first step into adulthood.

I always thought that college would be the time that I would find myself, my future husband, my dream internship which would ultimately become my dream career. I also thought that by the time I was 30, I’d be living in the ‘burbs with a white picket fence and a have started my perfect little family. Ha. OK, let’s be real…

Graduation is just a day like any other. It’s sort of like a birthday. You have a blast with a bunch of gifts and cards from a bunch of people that only care about you once a year. College, yes, it is a time of self discovery. You are parent-free, which means for the first time in your entire life, you get to make choices and decisions without their approval. It’s a weird and strange time in your life and you should take full advantage of it. There are only TWO things I would change about college:

1. I would have gone to NYC right our of high school. My parents thought it would be a good thing for me to stay closer to Maine and to make sure that I was really ready to take the leap of faith and move to NYC. Well, that was the WORST year of my life. All I wanted was to be in the city. I jumped on a bus ANY and EVERY weekend I could to spend time with my friends who went right after high school.

2. I would have taken advantage of travel abroad programs. I would have said c’est la vie to my fears and apprehensions and just done it.

Everything else? Including the embarrassing moments? Well, I am who I am because of them, so no, I wouldn’t change any of them. I would stumble and fall again and again if it meant being able to be where I am now. Heartbreak changed my course and made me feel like a change was necessary. Disappointment taught me to be more realistic in my expectations. Failed friendships taught me that nothing lasts forever, but to always cherish the time you’re given. Freedom allowed me to grow into who I wanted to be, not whatever everyone thought I should be. Independence taught me that I am so much stronger than I think I am and that anything is possible. Breaking my toe on my 21st taught me that real friends will love you even if it means you can’t go out and have to stay in and watch Netflix while icing and elevating.

I may not be 30 yet, but I am also nowhere near ready to have a husband or to be a Mom to anything other than my dog and cat. I am however, grateful. Grateful to be given this time to focus on me, my career and my happiness. In so many ways, it’s better than the future I envisioned for myself.
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