Take the Step

By Conner Yarbrough
Blog Content Contributor

At this point in life, most of my friends, peers, and acquaintances are all college students – and I could say the same about their social networks. As young adults living in a sort of limbo between childhood and the “real world,” it is easy to get lost in what seems like endless shuffling and changes.

I come into this article as we approach the end of the spring semester and the end of my first year away from home (plus my birthday was last week so, I’ve been on a nostalgic streak). I come into this article on the brink of even greater changes that, a year ago, I would never have expected to be preparing myself for. It’s all very, very, very overwhelming for us all – there’s no beating around the bush. Here’s where I should add a “however…” or “but…” and offer some uplifting advice that I can’t even apply to my own life, but (ha) none of this is that easy. On the contrary, everything that we are collectively going through right now is relentlessly difficult. At night, I find myself having to catch my breath and psyche out my anxiety just to get what little sleep I can before class in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, college is an amazing place filled with opportunities to stack your resume and create life-long friendships and relationships, but I don’t think any of us were necessarily prepared for the dark-side of the experience.

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Students gathering in and walking through The Quad as part of their daily routine. Photo by Conner Yarbrough.

Growing up, I’ve always considered myself exceptionally independent and responsible; I’ve held myself accountable for my own successes and failures. I came into this year with the expectation that things would be, in general, different. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was to be confronted with such chronic self-doubt, insecurity, and worry – feelings that seem to be an epidemic for our age group. How are we supposed to focus on and be proactive in meeting our individual goals if we can’t convince ourselves that we are even cut out for what this world has in store for us beyond limbo? Short answer: it’s hard.

Despite all of this, it is imperative that we survive. In such an interconnected, fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like we aren’t on track, like we aren’t working hard enough, like we aren’t succeeding fast enough, like we aren’t good enough. But, we will get back on track (even if it takes longer than we expect). A few years ago, I was told that feeling uncomfortable is a sign that you are pushing yourself to grow, testing your limits in an effort to understand yourself and the world better. If that’s really the case, then we are all just doing a LOT of growing up right now. And, that’s scary. But, we’re doing it. And, that’s okay.

The steps that we are taking right now may come with a sense of anxiety and hesitation, but we’re taking them.

Featured image by Conner Yarbrough.

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