Half of the world is telling you to get the new iOS update (said with firework effect), but the other half is saying it’s the worst update since the creation of the iPhone. Social media is telling you that these on-campus clown pictures are fake, but your paranoia knows that there’s a squeaky-shoed, red-nosed maniac lurking around the corner. Your friends are telling you how much they hate the song “Closer” because they hear it “literally everywhere,” but then they somehow end up screaming the lyrics when it comes on. What are you supposed to believe?
From my little-over-a-month experience of college, I’ve come to learn that uncertainty—a bit more serious than the kinds I just mentioned—is inevitable, and for most, this uncertainty hits way too hard, and way too quick. And the worst part is that we’re at an age at which we have to be certain—about our major, about our classes, about our future. Any time spent meddling around in uncertainty gets us behind in credits, and getting behind in credits gets us behind our competition, and getting behind our competition gets us behind in life, and all of this gets us stressed enough to feel the need for a 2:00 A.M. Ben and Jerry’s binge where the whole tub is mysteriously gone by the morning (along with our dignity, but man was that Boom Chocolatta worth it).
A friend told me yesterday that she had to spend an hour reassuring someone that he’d still get into med-school after he had finished his first college chemistry exam. One month in, one failed exam, and he was already in doubt of his entire future. That is the weight of our uncertainty now. But I’m not writing this to put a damper on the next seven months: yes, it took my friend an hour to comfort her friend, but the bigger picture is that, after that hour, he did feel better. Something that had tormented his outlook for his entire future was made dormant in the span of just one hour. This release has happened to you, too—think back to every failure you’ve had in high school; that one test, paper, project, or presentation that had tormented your hopes of getting into college. But now you’re here—you made it.
I think that the biggest problem is, when bad things happen, we make time stop. We trap ourselves within that bad thing and watch it happen over and over again. But the clock always starts again. And maybe every time the clock reads 12:00, you’re back in that bad place again, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck: the minutes are racing by 12:58, 12:59, and finally 1:00 comes around and the bad thing has passed before you even know it, and then the next eleven hours are good—or at least better—again. Then, eventually, you’ll be coasting by 12:00 as if you were never even stuck there, because that one bad hour is made dormant by the eleven good ones.
I’m writing about this now because I think this is important to realize before it’s you crying to your friend about how you’ll have to live under a bridge eating garbage for the rest of your life because you just failed Wingraves’ exam (or maybe it’s too late?). Getting behind will never mean you can’t catch up. You’ve gotten behind in middle school, but you still made it here, You’ve gotten behind in high school, but you still made it here. You’ll get behind in college—that’s almost inevitable—but being uncertain now will never mean won’t be certain again.
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