Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Life is in Shambles, Part 1

It's sappy hour.

Graduation is quickly approaching. And despite the terror I'm beginning to feel, the sleepless nights I've had for about five weeks now, and the struggle to find the perfect job, there's this sense of clarity I feel that I have to attribute to an episode of How I Met Your Mother...the one about graduation goggles.

Yesterday I had brunch with my sister Catia, who all of you probably know well by now. We were talking about how weird it is that I'm nearly done with college. It made me feel sentimental and I flashed back to the kind of person I was before this whole journey started.

When I started college this is how I thought my journey would end: I would be graduating with a 4.0 GPA and every possible honor, on my way to an incredible medical school, probably Johns Hopkins or the University of Michigan. My amazing and so-handsome-it-hurts-to-look-at-him boyfriend would be sitting with my family, beaming and being so happy that we were together and that we both found success. My mom would be crying and my dad would be so proud that he'd fall silent and that's how I'd know. And I would FINALLY be happy with myself because the plan worked out exactly as I wanted it to, for the first time ever.

The reality is starkly different. I'm graduating with an English degree. The good GPA still worked out. No med school for me. No boyfriend either, because I spend a lot of time working and I'm average and that's fine (ok, it's kind of not). I hope my parents are proud of me even though I decided against working toward the stability they've worked tirelessly to create for me. Because I made a lot of sacrifices and tried to show them that I could grow up into an adult worthy of belonging to them. Nothing worked out the way I planned it would. But, you guys, it's not the end of the world. And I'm happy.

I'm a different person than I was in high school. I'm a different person than I was when I started college. I'm a different person than I was when Jasmine and I started this blog. I'm a different person than I was when I was living in New York. I was so willing to change. That's the only consistency I've had in college. I just want to grow, to get to that next level. Now, I'm reflecting on all of those other versions of me and I'm simultaneously sad and happy (Freshman year Elise really needed to go).

The difficult thing is not seeing what's going to be next. There are going to be major changes, but unlike the earlier part of my life, I don't have even a semblance of an idea of what they'll be. After elementary school, there was high school. After high school, there was college. Now, there's a job, but I don't know what it will be yet. I haven't found something concrete yet. And then there's grad school, but who knows when that's going to happen.

Despite the monumental amount of pressure I'm under (It's times like right now when I realize how aptly named this blog is), I'm trying to stay as optimistic as possible. And it's so difficult. Two weeks ago, I wrote something called "My Life is in Shambles Part 1" (it inspired this post) because I'm so unsure about my future that it's taking every ounce of energy to be positive. This probably isn't the depiction of myself I should be giving in an online format, but about a year ago I made a promise to all of you that I refuse to break: to be honest, and to be real. But I'm really putting in an effort and having faith in my ability and creating any opportunity I can for myself.

A really long time ago, one of my friends told me that the most important gift I can give to myself is to stop being a people pleaser and spending a little time working on me, to make sure I was OK before I went giving back to others. And even though that person and I stopped being friends only months after that, I think it's the most important lesson I could've been given, and really sparked the transformations I've made in college. I'm more me, more "Elise" now than I've ever been. This whole sappy end of college thing and all of the days filled with endless work and applications and internships are bringing out the most real, but also most vulnerable part of me.

I really hope that I can use that vulnerability and rawness to my advantage. To refine it and use those feelings to create brands and products that I'm passionate about when I make it into the workforce. Not just for me, but to honor all of my transitions and to honor the friendship that sparked all of those.

I'm going to save the even sappier stuff (yes! It exists) for my final Warrior Stories post.

That's it. Thank you for making it to the bottom of this post, and I can't wait for you to read my Warrior Stories post.


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