Friday Thoughts: The Journey

It is once more that time of year. The part of the year where social media feeds are filled with one of three things: engagement announcements, baby announcements, university enrollment announcements.

And of course, each post has likes, hearts, and comments posting love and best wishes. We join in and comment.

Some of us see the news with a great smile. Others may see these announcements as painful reminders. We’re not where we want to be or with who we want to be.

But that’s okay.

We just need a little patience. In May 2016 I graduated from college. I had hopes that I would have a job after a month. Half a year later and I may have my one love in my life. A year after that I would be making a sizable dent in my school debt. That was my hope.

A year later I was still jobless, no love interest, and had not even started on paying back my loans.

It was only in April that I finally landed a job. Life is still not going the way I would like it to go but that is okay. But I remember something a Baby Boomer told me: Everyone has to pay their dues.

What does that mean?

It means each and everyone else has to go through a trial. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we applied for, we have paths we must travel. Whether we are the reporter stuck with boring stories or the medical student going through residency. The art student working as a graphic designer or the writer being denied. We must bear our burden and walk this path.

Tolkien did not sit down one day and write a generation-spanning novel. Einstien did not solve the mysteries of the math world overnight. We may see it as an instant success but it is not.

True greatness comes not from glory but from hard work.

As much as I wish that I could just skip the pain and reach the perfect happy place, this trial of fire can be beneficial.

We gain a better appreciation for our job, empathy for what others are going through, and perspective on our own circumstances.

And as tempting as it is to take a short cut it is not worth it. You will always be found out. No matter how long it takes, the truth will come out. The longer it takes to find out, the greater the fall will be.

So be patient. Be diligent. Learn what you can at each stage.

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To College Students

I am not sure why college students are on my mind as of late but I am. This post will be focused on what I wish I was told each year.

Freshman Year

You will change, no matter what happens to. This change will come from growing up, learning, and who you associate yourself with. Your friends will determine who you are.

Work first, play later. Each week, get your school work done in order to stay on top of homework. However, dedicate one night where you don’t do homework if you can. This is how to recharge yourself and not get burned out. Now if you have a test or a quiz tomorrow, please choose wisely.

Work out more and eat in more. Avoid going constantly to junk food heaven and spend some time exercising. Both will help reduce stresses on your body and keep yourself healthily. Mind you, healthy.

Sophomore Year

You did it. You made it through the first year. Now this is the year where you take what you learn and apply it. Try getting a job on campus for work experience and a little extra spending cash.

This year, start learning how to cook for yourself. This will save money and you can see my earlier post for some tips.

Also, learn to enjoy your college stay. It will not be long. Go and find what you love, not your friends or family. This may even result in learning what you truly want to do in life or find some new things.

Junior Year

This is it. The end stretch. You can make it. This year is when you start applying yourself to prepare for the real world. Get a part time job in your field of choice, maybe even getting an internship if you can.

Complete personal projects outside of class for your portfolio, whatever it may be, and get feedback on it. This will put you ahead of others.

Get experience providing customer service. Many of the jobs I am applying to want customer service. I recommend retail– a great way to learn humility, handle stress, and a better appreciation who work in retail full time as their career. Look for weaknesses in your skill set to strengthen.

Senior Year

This is your final year. Don’t let your stress overcome you. Although you need to focus on finishing strong, you also need to prepare for life after college. Start the application process early. You will be turned down a lot¬†but your job will come. Keep trucking.

Last Day

This is it. My final day as a college student. Finals are completed. Projects turned in. The last grades added in. All is done. Tomorrow I will walk across the stage and take a piece of paper that says my diploma is coming to me in a few months.

I have mixed feelings about this. Most of my emotions could fall under the category of sad. I am sad to leave the world that I have live in for the past several years. Sad to realize that this chapter of my life, even if I end up going to graduate school, is over now. I will never get these moments back.

I have made and lost friends over the years. Had my share of pain and triumphs. I questioned and got answers. Some I liked. Some I really didn’t like at all.

In the course of my college career I had three motifs: 1) True friendship, 2) Love, and 3) Who I am.

True friendships is where you share with one another your heart and soul.

It is not romantic in any sense but there is a bond. And these bonds are extremely rare and fragile. The few that I do have took many years to develop and would not do anything to damage such friendships. Such friendships have weathered changes in each other, circumstances, and out looks on life. You go through the storms, droughts, and bounty of life without losing sight of each other. Miles and time don’t mean much. You check in on each other. You are strong when they are weak and they are strong for you when you are weak.

Love. I really don’t know what it is. I thought I did but all I found out is that I want it but I am not ready.

From my observance of high schoolers, college students, and people in their seventies, love is a strange thing. I think true love is something that we do not know. What keeps two people together over multiple decades? What keeps two people together when one is crippled? It has to be more than beauty, strength, or good sex. There has to be more than what they eyes can see. I don’t know what that is but I can see its ripples on the surface of such old and established relationships. Maybe that is the romantic in me but I rather keep that part of me than lose it.

And lastly, who am I?

We’ve all had that moment when we stand and stare into the mirror and took a long hard look. Some of us already know the answer. Others are still searching. I have learn that who you are doesn’t mean that you are totally opposite of your family, elders, or the environment that you grew up in. At the same time this does not mean that you are just a drone parroting off what you are taught without question. Life is made interesting by the people. And people are only interesting because we are not copies. To find out who you are is looking at yourself. Take what others say, weigh what they say and why they say it. Are they telling you to change to suit them? Or are they telling you to change to improve yourself without any benefit to them?

I guess I did learn one other thing: life is hard and not fair. A lot of you know this first hand. Others really haven’t encountered the curve balls that life loves to throw. But you have to take the shots and do the best you can.

This is Poetria. The last blog as a college student. A part of me is sad by the passing. Another is looking forward to next stage of my life.

And not tripping on stage when I go to get my diploma.

One Last Week

This is it.

My final week. The week of many lasts. Last week of college. Last week of going to classes. Last week of mad studying before the exam. Last week of complaining about doing homework. Last week of scrambling to get packed and moved for the summer.

And yes it does make me sad that I closing a chapter on my life. For me, it has been nearly seven years of college thanks to transfers and other circumstances. Yet looking back on my college career, I would not change much. Maybe study more here and there. Or be more confident in my skill sets.

Then I am greeted a new thought: This is also the week of firsts.

First job hunt for a “big person’s job”. First consideration of looking for an apartment that is not related to an university. The first week of a new chapter in my life.

I do not know what this new chapter may bring but I do know this. I will use what I learn in college, both in classes and in relationships, to establish myself on this new adventure.

Or I’ll be back to get my masters! :D

Last Day

Today is my last day of classes as a college undergraduate.

I was not planning to make a post about college but I struggled to sleep last night. I have been attending college for nearly eight years now. I have gained and lost friends, strengthened old friendships and pushed myself to new heights.

It is hard to believe that my time is coming to an end. This will be a new venture. I am not sure where my path will be taking me now but I am looking forward to it.

So I say this to my college life: you have been full of rough spots but true friends is what makes the hard seasons worth it.

Dying

I sit here and look at the calendar. The date of the end of my college career makes me feel like I am dying. So much of what I am familiar with is ending. Classes, schedules, professors, and campus environments. It scared me, a lot. To think that my life is ending.

I won’t have the weekends free or the random call to meet somewhere to chat at the bookstore. I won’t be able to skip classes anymore or gossip about the professors. And I won’t be able to get discounts at the fast food joints.

It made me really sad and I want to stay in college for as long as I can. However, my department counselor will drag me across the stage to get my diploma.

This leaves me with the choice now. How to look at the end of my college career. A lot of the times I think I am dying in a way.

However, tonight I realize that I am not dying– I’m being reborn.

Much like the Phoenix, I am dying. Everything that I was is disappearing and I am starting something new. First real job. First real apartment. First real bill. The list goes on and on.

Sure, there will be bills and hair pulling moments coming my way but they are new and not to be feared. Which is something I will need to tackle head on.

I’ll make mistakes but I’ll learn.

I’ll find myself in new places and I’ll grow.

I’m not dying. I’m being reborn.

First Day, Last Semester

Right this very moment I am sitting in a classroom and meeting a new teacher.

Today will be the first day of my last semester. I have mixed feelings about it. I am excited to finally get my degree and enter the next stage of life. At the same time I will be leaving the familiar and well walked path of college. I will leave the safety and comfort of being in class and knowing what to expect each semester (classes, homework, and late nights working on projects).

I don’t know what to expect now.

I know it will be different and it will be filled with the joys of success and marked by set backs. But overall, I am excited to walk this path. I have grown much since last year. I still have a ways to go but I am looking forward to it.

For the students who are just beginning: stay true to who you are. Keep your focus.

Staying true to you means knowing who you want to become. It is difficult for some, easy for others. Yet each person’s journey is unique to that person. Surround yourself by the people who you want to become, because that is who you will become. Study first, play later but make time to rest your mind. You are here to study, not get your MR. or MRS. degree.

For the students who are just ending: we can make it. Now is our time.

We have taken a long time to get to where we are. We only have a little more to go. We can finish strong. It is time to put doubt aside and step forward. Our journey may yet be covered in fog but we must trust to what we have learned. No longer will we be looking to others and their actions. It is our time to make the choices. Let us learn from history so we do not repeat it.

Good luck!