The Dreaded Question

You’re in college.  You occasionally cry in a dirty, rancid-smelling bathroom stall because you have an unbelievably heavy workload and a ton of tasks to do and you don’t know where to start.

On weekends (and some weekdays), you end up either shit-faced or having to take care of a shit-faced friend who is being seduced by some creep.

With your second energy drink that leaves an odd taste on your tongue, you spend the night studying (rather, cramming because you waited the very last 24-hour period to start looking at your chicken scratch handwriting) for an exam you, honest to God, don’t know how is going to help you in the future.

But you pass the class and you’re on top of the world.  The end of another semester is approaching, and you realize you’re really invested in this college thing.  You set up a meeting your academic adviser on your free time and you feel like a real adult.  Look at you, setting up meetings to talk about your future.  Astounding!

You sit across from your adviser, and you two chat about how each of you are, the weather, how you’ve been in your classes.  Then your adviser asks, “What are your plans for graduation?”

Your heart  trips over itself and continues to beat, but frantically.  You stare at your adviser with the same look you had a few seconds before.  The question echoes in your head.  This isn’t an essay question in which there’s on e term from the chapter you distantly recognize and can expertly conjure up a flawless short answer response with seamless transitions, fully aware that it’s something fresh from your ass.

No, you’re facing your potential career, your Real Adult Life with real bills, obligations and errands.  You see the face of Real Adult Life and you don’t recognize the face.  Rather, you do, but it’s just so damn scary so you avoid it.  You’re hoping to get a soothing, parental response, but all your adviser gives you is a disappointed look and continues to tell you about the remaining classes you are required to take.

Later that day, you feel worse than the dirt on the ground.  You meet up with your friends over laxative-laced food and hear about their frustrations with their own majors and seemingly impossible goals and aspirations.  You laugh at how your one friend describes the way her adviser speaks and feel bad when another says he is still undecided and he’s a junior.  And then you realize that you’re not that alone in your despair.  Surprisingly, that’s okay.  You’re fresh off the teen boat and have entered the world of your twenties.  It’s okay to feel lost and scratch your head whenever the thought of plans after graduation comes to mind.  Everything does not need to be a plan.

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The End is Near and It’s Okay

Having gave up in the daunting process of trying to find a summer job, I was somehow fortunate enough to start honing my skills with working with kids when my godfather swooped in, saving the day, and asked if I could babysit my three-year-old godbrother.  He’s a smart, simple kid, finding joy in crashing his toy cars and watching videos about toy trains on YouTube.  I was simultaneously envious and fascinated, watching him run around with an adorable smile on his face, and that’s when it sunk in — I am halfway done with my college career.

I want to rewind time (doesn’t everyone?) and be a kid again.  To not have worries and focus only on having fun and choosing what doll to bring with me to the park would be lovely and, to be honest, a godsend.

Almost four weeks of being home was somehow enough for me to realize that I am halfway done with The College Struggle.  I felt oddly nostalgic coming home to catch two hours of sleep before getting ready for my older brother’s college graduation ceremony.  Sitting in Madison Square Garden, hearing his name being called, caused me to feel itchy and old — such an odd combination.  But it put things into focus.  I was getting older and closer my inevitable encounter with my ominous loans.

Welcome to Adulthood, Reggianie.  There’s no Adulthood for Dummies manual.  May the odds be ever in your favor.  Sincerely, The Universe

This worry and fear of the future and of potential failure is seemingly everlasting.  I don’t think there was a time when I actually thought, “Everything will be okay” before babysitting my godbrother.  The simplicity of his life was invigorating.  I thought, maybe everything will be okay.  I remember reading somewhere, “Will the little things matter a year from now?”  My usually pessimistic self replied, “Uh, yes!”  And then I thought, maybe that was rhetorical.  The little things are just that — the little things and there’s no reason to fret over them.  Once in a while, I can worry about what to wear for the day rather than worry about my looming loans every few minutes, chanting everything will be okay.