I am sort of floundering right now. Not in the sense that I am stressing like crazy and not getting enough sleep and having breakdowns and silently weeping into the shoulder of my freshman counselor. It’s a much more passive type of floundering. It’s a kind of floundering where I am feeling great and happy to be alive when all of a sudden I remember that, just outside of this bubble of happiness I’ve created, is a mysterious void of terrifying things called The Rest of my Life.
I mean, high school was easy. All throughout high school, I had one goal: Get into a good college. I knew I had to turn in my homework, to get A’s on tests, to play sports, take on leadership positions, etc. Everything I did, I did with the idea of, will this help me get into college?
Except then during senior year, I felt like that was complete crap and embraced my inner crunchy granola self and spiraled more into the question of does this really matter?
And that’s the mentality I’ve come into college with. For the first time in my life, I am no longer shooting towards a singular goal. It’s like, I’ve always been told to go up a mountain, but now that I’m on top I realize that I’m on a precipice looking into an ocean that is infinite. I have to jump in, but where do I even swim?
For that reason, freshman year Margaret has experienced a huge jolt away from high school Margaret. I’ve been really apprehensive about joining clubs because I’m always concerned about things I could be missing out on by committing myself to one thing. I haven’t been doing homework as intently as I could be because another side of me is asking if my econ problem set will actually be something I’ll care about when I tell my grand kids about my life of adventure.
There’s so much advice out there for college kids. Apparently, we’re on the margin of being able to change ourselves, to change our generation, to change the world. But the problem is that all this advice is contradictory. All those cliché phrases you hear in commencement ceremonies and find so inspirational – Do what you love. Cover all your bases. Step off the beaten path. Listen to your mother. Get straight A’s your first semester. Money doesn’t matter. You don’t need to think about your career. Pick a major you like. Find a high paying internship. – what exactly do you do with those?
It’s enough to drive you crazy and I know that from one too many days of crazy. Which is why right now, I’m just letting it all wash over me. I don’t know what to do, what direction to step in, whether my choices will ultimately be right or wrong. But I think that it’s okay.
I’m floundering, but I think this is just my first taste of being an adult – to have infinite possibilities around me, to have to decide, to have to move forward. That’s what I have to get used to and – fingers crossed – one day embrace. Let’s just hope the 3 1/2 years I have left here are enough…