Friday, October 8, 2010

Let's not be so hard on ourselves.

Today is feel-good Friday, so I'm going to spice things up by saying something that most people our age don't want to admit.

We're awesome for graduating from college.

I know that getting a BA is now basically the equivalent of what graduating from high school used to be. I know that you almost have to get an MA or even a PhD to have a "real" job in most fields. I know that a lot of times we look back at college and say, "So many classes were just blow-off classes." I know CC-ers are aware that we spent more time wondering if we were ever going to make conclusions than actually making conclusions. I know that we usually spent more time procrastinating and hanging out with friends than studying, and I know that most of our papers were written the night before (or the day) they were due.

I know all these things, and now that it's over I can easily say, "See? That wasn't so hard." I think that this is a scary mindset though. If college wasn't so hard, will we eventually think getting our Masters wasn't so hard? Writing a 200 page thesis wasn't so hard? Not to mention all of the life experiences... making a relationship work, finding a job, living on our own for the first time. When it's all said and done, will we just say that life wasn't so hard?

I always laugh when I read my old journals from high school and junior high because I wrote about all of my tormented loves and dramatic events that were happening. Why was it the worst thing in the world when I didn't have a boyfriend in high school? Why were little fights between my friends worthy of pages of distressed writing? It seems a little ridiculous now. And I can already feel myself starting to look at college this way - not giving myself any credit for what I felt and did in those four years, because hey, it really wasn't a big deal when it comes down to it.

Perhaps the hardest thing to remember when you're looking back in time is how you actually felt. I look back at the end of relationships (for example) and for a moment I'm tempted to say, "Yeah, I was pretty sad." But at the time, it really did feel like the end of the world. It really did cause genuine pain. I don't want to forget how I felt in college. Sometimes things were hard. I didn't always understand what my professors were saying, and I didn't get an A on every assignment.

I guess what I'm saying is this: don't cop out on your old self. You (probably) weren't just being silly when you felt stressed, frustrated, tired or dismayed. Life is hard, and it takes work. We didn't just graduate by sitting around all day. Give yourself a little credit when you feel like scoffing off your accomplishments. And if college really, truly was a 100% breeze for you, then you're much more of a genius than I am.

For the rest of us though... we're awesome. :)