When I strolled across the graduation stage on Saturday, May 7th, it was more than just a theatrical “Mama, we made it!” moment for myself, friends, and loved ones. I was saying “good bye” to a school and state that I had called home for five years.
No more Zaxby’s or Bojangles. No more “Sandstorm’s” in the student section at Williams-Brice. Most importantly, no more excuses for being late due to a stopped train (there were plenty, trust me!) I was now was entering into a transition period where I was no longer a student at the University of South Carolina, and not yet a graduate student at The Ohio State University.
Although I had concrete post-graduation plans, feelings of isolation, confusion, and uncertainty influenced my activities of daily living.
I don’t believe these feelings are exclusive to undergrads beginning life after college. From ending a long-term relationship to making a career switch to ending your student-athlete career, transition periods frequently occur and can be difficult to cope with, let alone take advantage of. One of the hardest transitions for me was seeing women in the same classroom as me during my first semester at Coastal Carolina University. (I graduated from Cincinnati St. Xavier High School – an all-male, private catholic school.)
After struggling during the first couple weeks of “All Summer Sixteen,” I was able to improve my overall sense of understanding and provided clarity in the midst of perceived chaos. I wanted to share these five action items to help someone who may be struggling with similar emotions.
- Be cool, calm, and collected. It’s easy to get worked up over the little things. Remind yourself that “everything happens for a reason” and don’t stress about finding the “perfect job” or internship. What is for YOU is already done. Think positive and optimistic thoughts. Give up the hope of yesterday and surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you.
- Reflect with intent
- Hindsight is always 20/20 and what happened in the past is done. Before finding my breakthrough, I spent too much time analyzing what I could have done differently, rather than why it happened – to prevent it from happening again in the future. Assess the why and you will find yourself more relaxed and prepared for your next move.
- Believe in yourself and your abilities – all of them! When you don’t believe in your abilities, you make irrational decisions that you would not have made otherwise. The worst someone can tell you is “no,” so you owe it to yourself to always give your best, regardless of what your current circumstance looks like. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?
- Learn something new!
- Don’t get caught up in the habit of routine. Try a new fitness program. Visit a local museum. Attend a painting class. There is no better time for change! This summer, I chose to learn how to play golf and it has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had. When’s the last time you did something for the first time?
- Trust the process
- It’s not going to happen overnight. Day by day, week after week, your perception of reality will transform and will inspire you to work hard for an uncertain outcome and make decisions despite incomplete information.
Remember, the only thing constant in life is change. There is a threshold of trust, humility, and peace that must be attained before you can truly move into your next phase.
Be patient. Be positive. Be present.
Honor this space between no longer and not yet, because right now – you’re exactly where you are supposed to be.
For those who would like to share things that have helped them with transition phases in their lives, please don’t hesitate to comment below!
Encourage somebody to be great today!