Life Outside Social Media

To the Late Bloomers

     It’s finally that time of the year when everyone throws a cap in the air to rejoice the end of a four-year journey and anticipate the beginning of an entirely new chapter, whether it’s going off to college or the dreaded workforce. Then, there’s me who gets to inevitably read all her friends’ lengthy Facebook posts about how crazy of a ride college has been as they bid farewell to such an unforgettable experience – a journey that I feel like I’m barely starting. If you’re on the same page, this is for you late bloomers who have a bit of extra time to learn and grow to reach your fullest potential. 

     Society likes to tell you what you’re supposed to do with your life by presenting this fixed timeline to adhere to. Otherwise, you’ve somehow failed at some point or made reckless decisions that pushed you off of this socially constructed, systematic life plan. But the problem with this is that it makes everything seem certain, and let’s face it, nothing in life is or ever will be because certainty is agonizingly limiting. Looking ahead and setting long-term goals with a timer should be nothing more than a tool to motivate yourself to get it together – not a way to firmly dictate your future. Predictability is like a safe haven because it assures you that you’re going in the right direction, but the unexpected is what will truly open your mind to both the beautiful and cruel nature of reality. 

     I certainly never planned to stay in college for two more years, but I will and I have to because I’m finally exactly where I wanted to be four years ago – it just happened to take longer than I expected. I spent my freshman year at a community college that I absolutely despised – both socially and academically; moved away from home and attended a new campus in my sophomore year which I enjoyed a lot more; transferred to UC Irvine as a Public Health major on my 3rd year but reverted back to a state of aimlessness despite being in a wonderful environment; then I spent my 4th year picking myself back up by rediscovering my penchant for learning – that is, learning about things outside my intended major – lessons that I would never have gained if I had adhered to the fixed agenda that my 18-year-old-self had established. While I will finally begin my journey as a Nursing Science student like I always intended, I declared a minor in Public Health because I’ve developed an unexpected attachment to the social aspects of health care, which I know will significantly make me a better nurse in the future contrary to if I hadn't chosen this longer path.

     This goes without saying that whatever delayed your initial plan is always a valid reason and you should never let someone undermine you for taking longer than you’re “supposed” to. Whether you switched majors, didn't get the classes you needed on time, or life simply got in the way, the silver lining is that you’ll have more opportunities to broaden your knowledge in a setting that offers the best learning environment. There’s truly no other place like college that provides you with such a strong motivation to learn alongside so many like-minded individuals of your cohort, so I’d say that staying an extra year or two is more like a blessing in disguise. Take all the time you need to figure out what you want and take advantage of that additional time to really get to know yourself and learn how to make an impact in a society that doesn’t always seem fair.

Saturday, June 10, 2017