As a counselor and administrator who works in higher education, this time of year is always so filled with enthusiasm and hope! Graduation time holds great promise for so many people as they make the "natural transition" to the next step in life. But what is a natural transition? Many students feel so overwhelmed as they are trying to figure out what should come next. They feel immense pressure from parents, professors and peers as they continually have to address the question of what’s next. I often have students break down in tears in my office since they are so afraid of what comes after the pomp and circumstance has died down.
It might be a relief for students to know that there is no such thing as a “natural” transition. The decisions that they take can lead them down a variety of paths. Also, if they don’t like the decision that they have made then there is always an opportunity to re-evaluate and make a different choice. I remember a special moment in my college career when I was strolling across campus with one of my favorite professors expressing my concern about the next step in my life. He looked me squarely in the face and just declared, “Just remember…the journey is the goal”…and promptly walked off. I stood there reflecting on his words and realizing how true they were. That was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in time. Our entire lives are filled with next steps. Those steps add up to our journey in life. It should be an exciting and invigorating time, not a fearful one!
So, take a deep breath and embrace your journey! It is unique to you and will all make sense in the end. Treasure the memories and experiences of this moment in time. Just remember, the path to your great potential is often straight through your greatest fear!