Graduation SZN

Naaaaah nanana nahhhhhnuhhhhh nahhhh nuh nah nuh nah.  It’s that time of year folks. The time when everyone is humming that sacred Pomp & Circumstance tune. That’s how you know- graduation season has arrived.  East Coasters, I know most of you have already been graduates for almost two months but the West Coast schools are just now catching up.  All over the world the plethora of balloons are being bought, gift cards are flying off of shelves, flower bouquets are being spritzed with water, girls are buying that extra large bag of bobby pins to secure their caps, and guys are perfecting their dabs and dance moves for that famed across the stage.

So let me ask you. When you think of the word graduation, what emotion arises within you?

  • Are there happy memories with friends?
  • Sad memories of heartfelt goodbyes?
  • Nostalgia for what one was?  

Roughly a year ago, I began this blog as a frustrated postgrad with a degree that did not calm my anxieties about stepping out into the world.  Oh, the places you will go!!! That’s what everyone said.  Where I went was back to my parent’s house, into my bed for weeks on end-where i would battle with what I wanted to do, what my parents wanted me to do, and what I felt like the world wanted me to do.

After pomp and circumstance comes all the “What Now” questions from your parents and your peers, and the “When are you getting married” questions from your African aunties if your family is anything like mine.  It can get super frustrating.  But why is that?

In my opinion, graduating high school in 2017 is major because of how few people even get that far.  If you tack on an undergraduate degree, you’ve survived about 16 years of school give or take!!!  It seems like a crime to NOT stop and celebrate for at least a month.  In my case, I pursued my secondary degree right out of undergrad and let me tell you. it was tough.  It was worth it, but I think you can manage to take a brain break and celebrate a little, while also preparing to go back to school

I got to watch the babies I tutored in middle school get promoted to high school and listened to some of them tell me their parents didn’t even get that far.  They were commended for that.  If you are a high school graduate, celebrate that too! Realize that those sleepless nights cramming for tests paid off and spend the summer commemorating that with your closest friends before you part ways for college.  If you are a college grad, I know the IRS will be sending those letters to your house soon, but that also means you’ve done it!! You’ve  suffered through those Statistics courses, gained the freshmen 15 and rebounded, gotten curfew violations in the dorm, tuned out boring professors and saved powerpoints from the ones you’ve loved- you conquered ALL of that.  What can you NOT conquer going forward?

When the bright lights of graduation fade out and you realize that you have no idea what’s coming next, realize that that is the most exciting part. It’s okay to say “I don’t know”.  You won’t know if something fits until you try it- SO TRY IT ALL.  I’ve been working really hard to try new things, go out more, and surprise myself more lately.  I was the quiet, hard-working, study all night, go to school and work all day student and so taking risks is not what I’m used to.  But let me tell you- Its a lot of fun.  For all my 20 somethings, no matter when you graduated, look back and ask yourself- what have i accomplished since that day? Am i doing what I love? Am I spending time with who i love?  Am i building now for the future that I want based on what I want or what people want for me?

It’s been a crazy year for me and I wanted to share those thoughts with some of you who may be in that dark and confusing postgrad place where I once was also.  I was unemployed, I quit social media for a a bit because FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, I got a job I loved though people told me it didn’t pay enough, I took my first solo trip, I got of toxic people in my contact list, started a blog and read tons of books!

  • You can do it too- success doesn’t have to be immediately after grad and if its not for you, you are not a failure.
  • Push through the I don’t knows, yo  My fellow psychopaths also pursuing grad degrees- Keep working and remember your end goal!!!! Go out when you dont wanna go out.  Walk down the street and talk to three strangers- see what they teach you.  Work the job with the long hard hours tha tkeep you from friends on the weekend, but isntead save that money for a big trip to celebrate you because you deserve it.  Write more, read more, and LOVE more.  Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  The rest kinda falls into palce by itself.  I will leave you with this- There is no map of how you are “supposed” to do life- you decide and only you.

Now What? 

Years and years of school.  Endless assignments procrastinated, countless sleepless nights, fighting the urge to skip class and nap, TONS of money spent on textbooks you may not have used more than once. By the time you walk across that stage and get a diploma you’re pretty much fed up and ready to get out of there ASAP. Or at least I was. But the minute I got home and all the excitement wore off, I wasn’t sure exactly how to feel. 

Being drop kicked into the real world isn’t easy. In fact, school was much easier because it was within a formatted schedule where you knew exactly what to do to succeed. But life doesn’t exactly have a sylabus. If you’re anything like me what comes after graduation is a state of panic, a sudden urgency to get out ahead of your peers and make sure your life is the quintessential picture on a Facebook posts that gets over 100 likes. You know the white Pickett fence, husband and 2.5 kids, and the dream job. In my reality at least that’s taking a whole lot longer. I don’t have the answers but I do have a few insights I thought I would share. 

Realize that no one has it figured out. Sitting in your room watching scandal for 16 hours a day and opening snapchats of people traveling Europe and getting pinned with nursing degrees makes you feel like you’re the only one struggling but you’re not. 

If you have a relative who is an older, more traditional African like my father you know the questions about your future never end. It jumps from “when are you graduating” to “where is your husband” in 2.5 seconds. But what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to say that you’re not quite sure yet. Trust the process and give yourself some time to figure out where exactly in life you want to go. You don’t have to become a millionaire today. 

Take it one day at a time. Take more risks, go places you’ve never been before, eat things you’ve never eaten, travel, get that cool haircut you’ve always wanted. Up to this point you’ve made it through what, 16 years of school give or take? And you survived it! So you can survive this new stage as well. And honestly limit your time on social media. Most times it just amplifies the loneliness you’re feeling because your school friends are now spread out across the state/country doing their own thing. 

I’ve had to take a lot of time by myself to just sit and answer that question, now what? It hasn’t been easy but you have to cut out all the other voices and really learn to listen to yourself. As terrifying as it is, I think the 20s were meant to be a time period full of not only self exploration, but also intentional decision-making and planning for the future. Everyday you wake up in the morning, invest in yourself– make at least one good hoofs to put yourself on the path you want to be on. And if you don’t know what path that is yet that’s okay, take your time. And don’t let anyone tell you that Netflix marathons are only for lazy people!! It’s not exactly a cheat sheet to adulthood, but I hope it helps relieve some of the stress for all my post grads out there! I figured I should begin with a somewhat positive post before the struggle ones about applying for jobs and graduate school paperwork stresses lol What are you having the most trouble with after graduation? Feel free to leave some thoughts in the comments below

have a wonderful Wednesday!

-Jo ❤️