By: Chaise Jung
As college students, we are all striving for the identical goal of graduation. Fundamentally, we are all wondering about that day when we are finally rewarded with our diploma. What happens after? With every week getting closer to that goal, I started to dig deep about the question of life beyond the diploma. This was an inconceivable apprehension to me four years ago when my sole mission in life concentrated around this seemingly distant goal. I have never been the type to stress much in my life. My natural tendencies to be an adaptive and supple person have always been my panoplia against the misfortunes of stress. However, I found stress became more of a companion in my life the closer to the inescapable expiration date of graduation loomed over me. By assuming I was going to be the exception to this exasperating experience in college life, I was ill prepared for the struggle when the time came.
With the wide range of emotions that I felt this last year of my undergraduate career, I couldn’t even attempt to formulate into coherent words, but I realized through this journey that there is no exception to this milestone. I underestimated the power of hyper-focusing on one significant goal and the power that goals have in driving a person forward. Of course, I was happy to be attaining a goal that I have stood painstakingly invested in for four whole years, but I got lost in a void of uncertainty of my next goal. Everything revolved around applying to graduate schools, gathering materials for those applications, and waiting around for an opportunity that was not even guaranteed. Suddenly, I realized that everything regarding my future became dependent on forces outside of my control.
In hindsight, this experience marked an important milestone on the road to my own personal self-actualization. I’m exultant in the knowledge that I gained perspective about myself and have risen up out of the ashes as a better self-aware human being. As an Anthropology student, I have always had a curiosity about other people outside myself. However, this experience allowed me to turn my attention inward instead of outward. The only advice I have for others is to find something within you to push through difficult times and reflect on those moments. Life is just beginning at this stage. Trust in yourself to know that, as long as you are true to yourself, life will work out in wonderful and unexpected ways.
Life only gets dull when you forego the opportunities to learn from the experiences that come with it.