It’s now week five of my sophomore year at CMU, and in comparison to how I was handling college life just one year ago, things are going great. I am secure in my career plans, I’m getting more involved on campus, and I generally feel more confident on a daily basis. I am staying motivated with both my academics and my physical health, and I’m even journaling more. I really have no room to complain.
Yet here I am, questioning decisions I make on a daily basis and slapping my own wrist for not having all the answers.
I’ve been struggling to even see why I’m stressing so much this year, but after reflecting on it a bit, I’ve come down to a key word: uncertainty. Even though I have lots of goals and aspirations, I don’t have anything to confirm where my future is going to take me. And I don’t only mean within the next ten years — I have no clue what my life will be like even six months from now. As exciting as that sometimes is, it mostly scares the heck out of me.
To think that one experience can change the course of my whole college career, and potentially my life, is nerve-wracking. Before I found out about the Leader Advancement Scholarship, I never would have looked into addending CMU. It was the simple decision to go to a high school leadership camp that got me connected with CMU’s Leadership Institute. That one little action led me to every college experience I’ve had: good and bad. Now, I look at opportunities like Greek Life, studying abroad, or new RSO’s and wonder if going for them would positively affect my future. I look at relationships differently now too, trying to devote most of my time to those who will be there with me for the long haul. But the question is, how am I supposed to know who will be there for me as I am for them? How am I supposed to know which opportunities are the best for me? My struggle exists here: I simply can’t know.
I feel so lucky to have all of the opportunities I have on my plate right now. I lead a very happy life and I try to stay as optimistic as possible. But right now, I have nothing that makes me feel fully secure– nothing that makes me feel empowered or jazzed up. I begin to cut myself short because I don’t want to leave the level of comfort I’m at right now. I use the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” excuse too much, and I want to make a change in that. The fact that I am so indecisive on so many aspects of my life right now also tends to make me susceptible to compromising for the sake of others. I want to do something that makes ME happy, and something that I know I’m doing for myself… Something I’m passionate about.
I talked with an RA in my residence hall about the issues I’ve been facing this year, and the only advice he could really give me was that this is just a common case of growing pains. And the best way to cope with them is to roll with the punches. Let me tell you, these so-called “growing pains” aren’t fun. Learning how to be a grown up is rough. But what keeps me going is knowing in the back of my mind that my struggles really are helping me grow. You know what they say: it’s the difficult roads that often lead to beautiful destinations. Cheesy, but true.
So, do I have all the answers right now? No, not at all. Do I know what I’m eating for dinner tomorrow let alone what my life will be like a year from now? Absolutely not. But that’s okay!
Right now, I am setting the goal of saying “yes” to more healthy opportunities this year. I don’t have to have all the answers right now, but I’ll never find them unless I start searching. I want to do things because they’re what I’m passionate about, not just because other people are doing it. I’ll try to hold myself accountable to this, and I’ll keep you posted.
Cheers to growing, to learning, and to the adventures of uncertainty.
To growing pains!