By Evan Glass
I remember the night before graduation I couldn’t sleep very well. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, and it made me uncomfortable. Deep down, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school for advertising. I fell in love with the creative process, and it felt like an itch I couldn’t stop itching. Part of me wanted to live in Seattle for a few months to wait for my girlfriend at the time to graduate. I didn’t want to be in Seattle, but I genuinely wanted to be with her. I felt torn, but I decided I wanted to continue moving my life forwards. Seattle wasn’t going to be the place for that. I wanted to meet new people, get out of the rainy weather, and just experience something new and different. I didn’t love my circle of friends in Seattle, as I felt I outgrew them. I decided to take a leap.
For 22 years of my life, I always had a plan of what I was going to do next. Whether it was the next grade in school or applying for college, all my big transitions in life up to this point had been planned out. As a person, I usually do pretty well with change and welcome it, but when I graduated from Seattle University in June of 2017, I didn’t have a plan, and that made me very uncomfortable. The future was wide open. How exciting that should be for a man my age, but it made by miserable for a few weeks, at least. I quickly realized, I knew what I wanted my next step to be, but when was the key factor. The question I got from friends and family all the time was, “so, what’s next?” And I hate that fucking question. It made me feel like I needed to have an answer that people would want to hear. I got advice from so many people, and everyone had a different opinion.
I went on a trip after graduation to Machu Picchu. It was a truly transformative experience that gave me time to think about what I wanted in life. I realized life is about making choices. These choices may feel insignificant or overwhelming at the time- but collectively they all contribute to where you go and what you experience in life. They determine the course of your journey. And decisions aren’t easy. When I got back from my trip, I got an acceptance letter from the graduate school I wanted to go to. One problem. It was in Atlanta.
I felt torn on what decision to make after graduation because I wanted two things: go to grad school and move somewhere new, and makes things work with my girlfriend at the time. I living in Seattle for about a month during the summer, applying for jobs and just feeling lost. Some of my time during that month in Seattle was amazing, but I had this lingering cloud in my head that stressed me out, and wanted to make everything work.
I wasn’t a great person to be around at that time. I often let my anger and frustration out on others, especially my girlfriend at the time. Obviously that wasn’t fair, and I just didn’t feel like myself. And when you stop feeling like yourself, I think something is wrong. When I realized I wasn’t feeling like myself, I decided to follow my heart, and go with my gut instinct to start a new chapter in Atlanta.
It was one of the hardest decisions in my life, but it freed me.
On a whim, I broke up with my girlfriend, packed my bags and headed back to California for a month until graduate school began. I made the right decision, but how I handled myself and others during that time is something I am not proud of. It wasn’t a reflection of how I am as a person, but it’s a lesson I learned of how not to handle something.
It turns out I love school in Atlanta, and have met some really amazing people. It’s hard to drop everything you know, move across the country where you know no one, but it made me feel free. I was doing what I love, but that transition itself wasn’t easy.
For the first month at school, all my feelings of the past few months in Seattle and leaving came to the surface. I didn’t allow them to before, and they built up and burst open. I think partially these feelings arose strongly once I got to Atlanta because it hit me how different my life was. I subconsciously grasped onto things that were holding onto me. I have learned to let a lot of past feelings go, Tthat was the only way I could fully immerse myself in the moment of life. Once you decide to let go of past feelings that hurt, it frees you in so many ways.
My transition from college to the uncertainty of life is a common experience everyone goes through. Embracing uncertainty is an important thing, and can potentially define certain parts of your life. For those going through any sort of transition, just follow your heart. I know that is cliché and cheesy, but it’s true. Trust your feelings, too, even if they don’t make sense. I believe the way a situation makes you feel is more important than how you perceive it in your mind (through logic).
If it feels right, go for it, but not by just dipping your toe in. You have to be all in, or living in the past and trying to be in the present will only cause pain.
As a recent college graduate, you are so young. Realize you can do whatever you want. Realize you don’t have to settle for that bullshit job you hate. But when you go for what you want, it’s usually the harder route. I learned to really trust myself, something I’ve had a hard time dealing with before.
Trusting your gut and believing you can do something may be the most important thing you can do for yourself.