April 24, 2014
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”
I am officially done with college. I’ve turned in the last assignment of my undergraduate career. As I walked out of my last class ever, I tried to decide how I felt–somewhere between extremely relieved and terrified beyond all reason. For the past few days I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
Recently I’ve been trying to figure out what I learned in college (besides how to pass my classes, get along with other people, and live independently). Inevitably, things happen that we could never prepare for. No matter how much we can think ahead, college seems to have shown me that the unpredictable always happens. And this is a fact of life that’s not going to change any time soon. Challenges are always going to face us, whether it’s writing an 18-page paper in one night, having to apologize to a good friend, or having to take out loans to afford grad school. Challenges are inevitable, but learning how to cope in spite of them is what will help us in the end. And I think this starts with a positive attitude.
POS agrees–a positive attitude can go a long way. POS doesn’t want to ignore negative events in favor of focusing on the positive, but looks at how we use negative events to learn and grow. Maybe rather than focusing only on positive events, the focus is positive outcomes and practices, no matter what circumstances led to them. So rather than “waiting for the storm to pass”–hoping to avoid conflict–learning how to make the most of situations and learning to grow from them is the “dance in the rain” that it’s important for us to learn.
Another certainty about life that I’ve learned from college is, well, uncertainty. From the very beginning you wonder who your roommate will be, what you should major in, and what you want your career to be. College is full of unanswered questions, and we have to figure how to figure them out. If the two certainties are that bad things will happen and that we will be uncertain, I need to shift my attitude to become ok with the unknown. I usually won’t know how to deal with problems right away, but no matter what, I will get through them eventually and be stronger because of it.
When I think about where I am along that relieved/terrified scale, I think I’m more excited than anything else. Although there are countless things to be afraid of and worry about (like starting all over, sharing a room, paying for rent, taking out loans, making friends, scary things like that) I know that I will eventually get through them, and probably have fun in the process. The uncertainty and challenge can make for interesting conversations, lots of laughs, and fond memories to look back on. So why live in fear and stress when I know for certain that these things will happen? And there are always positives along the way.