I can already hear my sister’s response to this column: “WE GET IT SYLVANNA, YOU’RE GRADUATING EARLY.”
My younger sister, Phoebe, is probably happy I started off with a blatant acceptance of how humble-brag this space can get. So there you go, Phoebe. This is my public acceptance that I, Sylvanna Leah Gross, am kind of an asshole.
This space is meant to be a comment on how every senior is in this weird limbo of almost having to be an adult with taxes and mortgages while still forgetting that you should be taking vitamins every day, not just when you remember you should be taking them. It’s dedicated to seniors who feel like they’re occupying a liminal space where they can’t be considered full-blown adults yet, but are being forced to make very adult decisions. It’s for people like me, who are scared to move forward.
Being scared isn’t a bad thing. It’s a natural response to going into the unknown. It’s what you should be when something happens that you’re not familiar with. From my basic understanding of the sciences, it’s a biological response. So why are seniors so scared of being scared?
For me, it’s the fact that for the first time there is no absolute formula for what we have to do. Growing up, I knew the formula that my teachers pounded into my head: high school, college, job. But it was relatively easy to make the jump from high school to college. One quick application, a couple of rejections and a couple of acceptances and one decision to the best public university in the world.
But now, the jump isn’t as clear-cut. I could get a job. Or I could get a master’s degree or go into a doctorate program or earn a fellowship or go into an internship or take time off and travel (this last option is not supported by my bank account, unfortunately).
I’m the type of person who always had a plan. But for the first time in my life, I have no clue what my next step will be. I know I want to go to law school, but I also know I’m not ready yet for that step. Because once I go, I have to get a job. And once I get a job, that’s my life.
I completely understand that I am making this process feel way too black and white. Of course there are alternative ways of living your life, and there are many reasons why I am being insensitive to how I had the privilege of going to college and so am not in the place to complain. But, I am complaining. Because I’m scared and I know a lot of you are too.
So here’s some tips on relaxing and being less scared for at least 10 minutes.
1. You are not alone
2. It will feel like you are alone but let me repeat, YOU ARE NOT ALONE
3. But maybe, find yourself a quiet place and be alone physically
4. Put on your relaxing music (U2 or some Jason Mraz puts me in a good mood)
5. Drink a glass of water
6. Lay in your bed
7. Put your phone down and turn on “Do not disturb”
8. Just listen (it is very possible you might mistake this as a nap, it is very important you do not mistake this as a nap)
9. Think about your mom, or dad, or siblings, or significant other or any person who stands beside you no matter what
10. If you want to pass on step 8 for whatever personal matter, think about cute cuddly puppies or think of the funniest memory you have
11. Remember, you are not alone