I’ve been keeping a journal on and off for the last 10 years. It’s always been my way of keeping a written record of my past. I wrote about everything. Things I was going through, drama with friends, breakups, my transition from high school to college. Everything. It’s always been my safe space, where I can write and freely express myself. It’s the only time I really don’t hold back. It’s therapeutic. It’s helped me understand myself better.
I recently came across a binder full of old entries from my high school years, and all I have to say is that history sure has a way of repeating itself. When I started college, I was frustrated because things weren’t happening for me as quickly as I would have liked. I had a hard time making new friends. I lived on campus and my roommate and I didn’t get along. I was frustrated because I felt like my friends from high school had seemingly moved on with their lives and were fitting in well at their new colleges. They had no problems making friends and making that transition. I was hard on myself because I just wanted in, and my straight-edge lifestyle didn’t mesh with the college campus life. I found myself on the outside, desperate for acceptance.
There was one entry in particular I came across that talked about a conversation I had with my mom. I had told her how difficult this transition has been for me and she knew that I had a hard time adjusting. I know her heart was in the right place and she just wanted me to be happy, but she suggested that I drop out of my university, move back home, and enroll in a community college for a couple of years. I was a little shocked at my response (and so was she), but apparently I said something along the lines of, “If I move back home where it’s comfortable and safe, I won’t be able to grow. This is supposed to be hard. I need to go through these struggles…” Long story short, I ended up moving out of the dorms because that was an environment I knew I couldn’t live in for an entire year. However, I chose to stay at my university. I just opted to commute instead of living on campus (which ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. Living on campus isn’t for everyone).
While I was happy I didn’t have to live on campus anymore, I was now worried about the next three and a half years because I thought that commuting would hinder my ability to get involved in the college life (as if I wasn’t struggling with that enough already). But, sure enough, when it came time for me to start my sophomore year, that’s when I met my core group of friends. Those were the people I hung out with and they were the ones who became my closest friends. And, guess what…NONE of them lived on campus. They all commuted.
The rest of my time at college was great. I had the best time. I met some great people and formed lasting friendships. Since graduating from college, I’ve found myself in a different, yet similar, situation. The transition from college to workforce. It hasn’t been easy for me. I haven’t been able to land a steady job yet, and it has me worried. I’ve been doubting the decisions I made in college. Maybe I should have picked a different major. Maybe I should have done this or that.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that I’m starting to overwhelm myself again. I’ve found myself in a situation where I’ve seen my friends graduate college and they’ve successfully found work and are doing fine. Meanwhile, I’ve been at a standstill and it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much progress. It’s similar to how I was feeling when I started college. The frustration of seeing everyone move ahead while I’m stuck. I want things to happen faster for me.
If there’s anything I can take away from my past, it’s that I just need to give it time. I need to also remember what the past version of myself once said…that I need to face these challenges and struggles so that I can grow. If anything, I think that going through these struggles now will make me appreciate things more later on down the road. No one said it would be easy, and if it was easy, what would we learn?
It’s been an interesting day reflecting on my past, and I’m going to use that information to help me move forward. My problems back then seemed like they were the end of the world. I didn’t see how things could get better. I need to realize that just because things aren’t happening for me right now, doesn’t mean they never will. Yes, it’s frustrating feeling like you’re the one falling behind. It’s easy to convince yourself you’re a failure because of that and you’ll never be successful. But sometimes we need to take a step back, breathe, and chill out. As long as I am trying my hardest, there’s no reason to have any doubts.