Oh, The Places You Must Go!
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
It is always a delight to read about the struggles of The Greats, you know the kind of people we remind ourselves about whenever we try to convince ourselves that our lives can still turn out well if we decide to quit school, quit our job, take a leap of faith on a business idea, or sleep-in instead of going to your 8am lecture on a Friday morning. I mean Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Racheal Ray, Kevin Rose, Ellen DeGeneres and other successful people, yeah, those people. I think we need to spend a little more time on those stories to truly understand the full picture. Myself included; I enjoy happy endings but not the persevering and long-suffering part of the journey that leads to the happy endings, which if you ask me, that’s the real substance in the stories. My brain likes to omit the heart-breaking parts of the journey and I remember more of the good stuff.
As a college student, you are somewhat aware of the reality of the real world depending on your background and circumstances. I do not think college students get the full picture of the “real world” until after graduation. While some people are able to beat the odds with their college degrees, sadly, not everyone has the opportunity and circumstances to do so. Gladly, in college, we were pumped up with enough encouragements and phrases such as “go change the world!” “it’s your time to shine!” “carpe diem!” “shine on!” and so on to maintain our momentum in our realities as we work hard to pursue and earn our degrees.
After college, the “real world” hits us all and it does so differently depending on your social economic status, race, culture, backgrounds, and circumstances. Most graduates are resuming graduate school in the fall, getting married, moving to a different state to pursue a job opportunity while others are faced with unemployment, inability to get into grad schools, seas of debts, and other realities. Almost every day becomes a pep-talk needing one for those who fall into the latter category and the ability to keep moving, the need to keep your head high and the need of grabbing tighter at hope becomes much more necessary. Most of us are unable to secure a job with the major we signed our destinies onto for four years. With shame and judgment, most people isolate themselves from their peers, some maintain a façade to keep up with “the lucky ones” while others seek supports from close friends and family members.
Few months after college graduation, I was reconnecting with some of my college friends and we were all sharing our turns of excitements and woes of post-college lives. A friend asked about our upcoming college reunion and if we were planning on attending. I remember stating that I was not going to be attending, my post-college plans had worked out as I had planned and I was just not ready to go back and visit my home of 4 years that did all it’s best to prepare me to carve the future and shine on. I was not ready to explain my current plan and why I had changed my mind from the plan I chose four years ago or why that plan did not succeed. My wise friend replied to my self-beat up statement and said “you have to take pride in your journey, life is hard for all of us right now and you do not owe anyone an explanation for where you are in your life. You can choose to whom to tell about what your current decisions are and to whom not to tell about your detour. We are all going through something, even if we all do not look it.” #reallifeencouragement. She said more than that but the part that resonated with me most was the taking pride in your journey phrase. I had forgotten to take pride in myself, like one change of mind, change of plans or failure should define me. As a matter of fact, most of The Greats have multiple failure stories and what defined them was not their failed attempts at many projects and or plans but their perseverance and resiliency.
So, I don’t know where you are or what you are going through. Maybe you are a student, a college graduate still seeking admission into the graduate school of your dream, an entrepreneur, an innovator, a dreamer, a nomad, a post-baccalaureate student, or a traditional student. Like my friend said, take pride in your journey! Whatever stage of development your butterfly is in, take pride in it. The rough parts of your stories, they are the character building tools chiseling out your weaknesses and molding you into the masterpiece you were born to become. Do not be ashamed or apologetic for where you are right now and where you are not. Take pride in your own unique suffering and perseverance so that one day; should you choose to do so, you can share your substance and shape lives with your story of empowerment that would help other individuals find strength to climb up the mountains of their lives. As John Lennon has famously being quoted “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”
“Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you…Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!