Do you know what one of the hardest things for new drivers to master? Staying in one’s lane. At least, it was for me. Still struggle with it sometimes. What can I say? I’m a card-carrying member of the hand-eye coordination-challenged club. The same analogy could be used in real life. Since grade school, we’ve been compared and we compared ourselves to others. If you grew up in a school system where you were ranked at the end of the trimester (or the semester), you especially know what I’m talking about. That extended for me all the way to college. Who had what GPA? Who had what internship? Who got which professor to write them a recommendation letter for grad school? It was endless. I knew the comparison was useless, un-productive and unhealthy. I even advised new students not to get caught up in that trap. However, the phenomenon existed around me and it was easy sometimes, to “talk the talk”, and not necessarily walk it.
Here’s another question for ya? What did you think life-after-college would be like when you were in college? If you’re still in college, what are your thoughts on that subject? If those 2 categories don’t apply to you, what did you think adult life was going to be like? I had my thoughts. And senior year, those thoughts and the pressure (that was mostly self-induced) came back with a vengeance. Who got what job/fellowship/internship? Who was moving where? Who got into what grad school? All these questions leading up to the big one: And how do I measure up? I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this. It was just a dark, imminent cloud that hung over us: the haves (with all the things they had wanted) and the have-nots (the dissapointed, disenchanted, disillusioned, etc bunch). Many of us at that point were having a lot of trouble, staying in our lane and just looking forward. We kept venturing into the other lane, or craning our neck to see what was happening next to us (I just streeetched that metaphor :D).
These days, I’m getting better at staying in my lane. Certain things, they say, only come with experience. So, what does my post-college life looks like? It’s not in Boston like I thought. Or in Senegal. Or in Seattle. It’s not in my own apartment or in a house with other post-college grads. It’s not catching the bus every morning, already stressed with a coffee cup in my head. And for that I’m thankful every day.
Just a little reminder: In life, just as on the road, let’s keep our eyes forward and let’s stay in our lane.