***While I usually limit my blog posts to academic topics, I felt the need to post a more personal one today. I plan to start back into my Psychology/Neuroscience blog topics next week.***
Over the past month it’s felt as if life swallowed me up, shook me around, pulled the ground from beneath me, then spit me back out again. I’ve been left with a bruised ego, feeling vulnerable and pathetic.
I have spent the last eighteen years as a learner and a go-getter, and being a University student amplified this. I have carefully planned out my semesters and worked hard to reach my goal of an undergrad degree, carefully checking my requirements off a list and counting down the time until I would walk the stage. I was proud of a lot of my accomplishments- I started University straight out of high school and graduated in four years with a pretty decent GPA. I felt at home and I felt like the best version of myself over the last four years. When graduation came I was on top of the world as I checked “undergraduate degree” off my bucket list. I felt accomplished, I felt educated and I felt proud. I saw my future as bright and easy. I would get a job in the field, work on applying to grad school, become a counselor… continue checking off the list of ambitions.
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, my idea of how things were going to go did not match the reality that I found myself in. Despite my meticulous planning and preparing life threw some curveballs and I can honestly say I was totally caught off guard by the shift that took place mentally. With my summer job coming to an end I suddenly got hit with “the real world” for what felt like the first time. Without going into too much detail, the job I had lined up in Lethbridge didn’t work out for me, I found myself living in a city where I no longer belonged and had nothing to occupy my time, I got hit with some pretty rough anxiety concerning my future and my mood lowered the more I thought about how much I missed the life I had before graduation.
They say that one consistency in life is that it’s never consistent. It’s painful and it can be hard to understand why, after being so certain about life for so long, you suddenly forget who you are. Once confident and self-assured, you find yourself lost and scrambling to hold on to some sort of normality. These feelings make you want to hold on to the past to regain that certainty and confidence in yourself- but the impossibility of this causes feelings of grief and misplacement.
As unnatural as transitions feel, at the end of the day they serve a purpose. If life was always easy and we always knew what to do, we would never have the opportunity to grow. Changes are always going to happen, it’s up to use to decide what we do in the midst of the change. When we choose to let change happen, it in turn molds and shapes us. It allows us those moments where we see who we are at the core. It allows us to be resilient and strong.
Almost two years ago now I wrote a blog about growth vs. fixed mindsets (see: Mindset Theory/Brains are Amazing! ). I look back on it now and benefit from it more today than I did when I wrote it, because now I can apply it in reality rather than just in theory. Mindsets have a huge impact on outcomes. Maintaining a mindset that believes we learn from failure, and lives are shaped through determination and attitude, leads to success.
Leaving the past behind is truly a grieving process, but without this process we wouldn’t be able to grow. If we maintain a growth mindset and leave our minds and hearts open to opportunity, it’s inevitable that we will look back on these transitional times and see their necessity. Going through this transition offers us an opportunity. An opportunity to come out on the other side a better, stronger version of ourselves. No matter how difficult it may be in the moment, the payoff will be worth it, and that’s definitely something to look forward to.