Written by contributor writer Megan Shankland
There’s been a lot of change lately, and I’m not so sure I’m ready for it.
I’m in this weird phase where I’ve been saying goodbye to a familiar chapter in my life and wondering what the new chapter has in store. It’s this gross feeling of being so terrified it’s almost exhilarating. Knowing time is slipping away and being forced to plan for an unknown future would be terrifying for anyone, yet I should be celebrating this new, exciting phase in my life.
Feeling of Discomfort.
As a graduating college senior, I know what I’m supposed to be feeling; proud, accomplished and optimistic. But I still can’t shake the feeling of discomfort that comes with graduation. I’m being congratulated on going through the motions and sticking with it, which almost seems kind of ridiculous. It’s a feeling of confusion, congratulations about what? The fact I dug myself into thousands of dollars worth of debt with no guarantee I’ll be able to pay it off? Thanks, I’ll take my $50,000 piece of paper while the government so kindly reminds me of the debt I owe.
As I scramble to place my life together, I remember I’m not alone. Everyone eventually experiences a drastic shift in what they use to know. Whether you’re graduating, taking a new job, moving far away or starting new, we all have change in common.
Change and I have this weird relationship.
It’s an inevitable word carrying a huge burden of unknown—and it always reminds me.
When I was younger, I had the hardest time with the changing of the school year. Once the seasons changed, I knew I was going through a new phase as well. In the fall I feared the change of a new year, new teachers, new cliques to fit into and new expectations.
You could smell it on the first day of school. The over-powering bleach in the hallways meant the school year was starting. The classrooms would never look as pristine as they did on the first day and finding a table to sit at during lunch was probably the biggest decision that year. But fall turned into winter and winter turned into spring. Although change had brought me through the year, I knew I was going to fear it again.
In the spring I feared the loss of a year, reflecting on the past and knowing you can never go back. It’s a time where goodbyes were said to friends moving to new school districts, final farewells to graduating seniors and I’ll-see-you-next-years to favorite teachers.
It meant being apart from best friends and a season away from your teammates you grew to love. It meant saying goodbye to football games and school dances, knowing you’re another year closer to saying goodbye to your school.
So where has change brought me today?
It’s brought me through new school years and saying goodbye to friends, through high school graduations and going separate ways, through the first days of college and meeting lots of new people, through moving to new apartments, the beginning of many new courses and It’s brought me here. This December I officially became a Central Michigan University alumni with no idea where the time went.
It’s brought me through three internships, a number of classes, failures I pushed to being successes, a number of part time jobs, many tears, long nights and one degree smarter. It’s brought me through living further than I’ve ever wanted to be from family, and finding the real world to be harsher and more rewarding than I could ever imagine.
It’s brought me to pushing myself out of my comfort zone by learning to live by ‘why not’ and stop making excuses for ‘because of.’ I’ve been through struggles and accomplishments and come a long way from fearing the change of a new school year.
Change and I will always have this weird relationship. It’s still foreign and uncomfortable, it’s still unwelcomed but ever-so-needed and it still pushes me to take a leap of faith.
As I walked across the stage and experienced a huge change in my life this December, I know one thing for sure; Change will happen ready or not, but I’ll never let change, change me.