By Emily McLaughlin
I graduated with my best friend. <3
Many of my friends and family members are immersed in a transitional year… a commencement year. Commencement signifies the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in this wonderful book of life. Everyone’s book has different highs and lows, but no book is more captivating than another.
Whether you are graduating high school or college, there are a few things I want you to keep in mind as you enter the next chapter of your life. It’s been almost 1 year since I graduated from UMass Amherst and 5 years since I left Pembroke High School — I’ve learned a lot about myself and the person I am destined to become in that time. You may be thinking, “Oh, crap! I have no idea!” and I promise you that things will fall into place in time.
Everything you need is within you now.
When I am dealing with a difficult situation emotionally or physically, this is the mantra I resort to. I repeat it a few times in my head to reaffirm my inner strength (there’s the yogi in me). If you are in a commencement phase of you life, odds are you are dealing with at least one of the following: Taking finals, choosing a college, moving, finding a job, preparing for grad school, saying goodbye, meeting new people. Through all of those stressful, life-altering moments, remember that everything you need is within you now.
You are making the right decision.
Stop asking yourself, “Am I making the right choice?” What is the right choice, anyways? Your path will enfold the way destiny has planned… you just have to let it. With that said, don’t spend your time thinking, “What if?” because…
Life is sure to take you to some amazing places, just hold on tight for the ride.
There will be highs and there will be lows. I can’t tell you when you will hit those points, but I can tell you they are coming. There may be times when you think that you are not strong enough and there will be times when you question the decisions you made (we’re human). What I am suggesting is that you don’t get hung up on what could have been… Live in the NOW and roll with the punches.
Find healthy ways to deal with stress.
During the last few months of college and through the start of my first “real world” job, I exercised a whole lot. From experience, I know that a little sweat and movement is the best way for me to deal with stress. This might not work for you (even though science says it works for everyone ;) ). Find an activity or hobby they helps you maintain a little sanity in your busy, chaotic life and MAKE TIME FOR IT.
You will learn and mature most in the hardest of times.
Tough times will make you stronger… so I’ve learned. It will be in those hard times, those unexpected times, that you will discover something new about yourself — perhaps a quality you didn’t realize you possessed, or a belief system you didn’t realize you held. These hard times won’t necessarily be bad times, but a struggle will be present.
Keep friends close and friendships strong.
After graduation, I got a job in Newton, MA. For a couple of months, I commuted back and forth from my hometown… but that 1-1.5 hour commute was really taking a lot out of me. By October, I was settled into a little apartment with college friends a few towns east of Newton. Back on the South Shore were my two best friends. While we text daily and talk on the phone occasionally, we definitely don’t see each other enough. Make time for your friends, even if you have to pencil each other into your crazy-looking planners.
This list could go on forever, but I want to keep it short. If you remember at least one of these pieces of advice as you transition from high school to college, from college to the real world, or from one job to another, you’ll do just fine. I promise.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received when going through a major life change? If it wasn’t advice, what quote/mantra do your occupy your mind with during struggle? Sound off in the comment section below. :)