The Anticipation and Fear that College Graduation Brings
What do you do when what you’ve always known has a time limit?
What do you do when you have to prepare yourself for the unknown?
What do you do when you know your life is about to undergo a drastic change?
As long as I can remember I have called myself a student and I have called myself an athlete. But, in six short months, my identity is changing, drastically. I will no longer be either of titles that I have come to identify with and come to love about myself. And, although most days I am able to tell myself that I am ready and I am excited for what the future holds, fear still overcomes me and has my mind racing day in and day out about the possibilities and changes that lie ahead.
Up until this point in my life I have had school and softball to fall back on. My life has been relatively easy. College and sports have been written out for me. Pick a major, have a list of classes. Pick a sport, show up to practice. College and my sport have been a comfort zone, just like the teddy bear you held on to for the first eight years of your life.
Thinking about having to walk away from that comfort zone and the things I have come to love is absolutely terrifying.
What if I do not find a job? What if I can’t pay my bills? What will I do without my teammates? How will I stay in shape? Where will I live?
Each year nearly 1.9 million bachelor degrees are awarded and upon graduation I am just a speck in the job force. I am no longer a college student, I am just another resume in the pool of millions. I will no longer be part of the 460,000 individuals who can call themselves a college athlete. The safety net that I have always felt secured by, will soon be gone and I will be face to face with the world.
Playing a sport allowed me to come to Ellensburg to earn my degree. Being a college athlete allowed me to find myself and further fall in love with softball. Studying public relations has allowed me to find a field that I am passionate about and look forward to learning more about. Yet, like anyone I still have fears and doubts despite the confidence I have developed.
There must be someone more qualified, why would someone hire me? Have I truly developed and am I actually prepared for the workforce?
Without a doubt, I am confident in the skills I have learned and developed, I am confident in my abilities to be a productive employee and I am excited for the future. However, I still wonder and question how I will develop in the workplace and what my future will look like. Just like anyone else, my goal is to be successful and be independent. It’s human nature, right?
Not only will the future require me to adapt to a new lifestyle in the sense of working and finding a career, but adapting to no longer being an athlete with come with its own challenges. Being an athlete has always been an outlet, a sense of security and a place of belonging. Not only will I not have a daily workout plan and a time set aside for friends but I will be placed in a pool of new people and completely out of my comfort zone.
As I list all these factors and worries out, yes, it seems unrealistic and it seems that I am overthinking it. But, this is real and I like to tell myself it’s natural.
Although this may be one of the most significant life changes that I will be faced with, it is also an amazing opportunity to grow, develop and create my own life and career. Just like every other successful person that has gone before me and just like every other challenge and fear I’ve been faced with, I have to take a leap of faith. So with all the fears and doubts that you may also have, take the leap into the big world.