And It All Came To An End…

5 Minute Read.

Just like that.

College: That place we all grow up imagining. That magical place that feels so far away, but in reality, comes so much quicker than expected. And in the 4 years we attend, it’s almost as if time speeds up far beyond what we were ready for.

4 years ago today, I was attending my senior prom. It feels like yesterday. I still remember the feeling of putting on, in my opinion, the most beautiful prom dress I had ever seen. I can still feel the weight of the gown on my body, and I can still remember the excitement that swirled around the entire day and night. Very vividly.

And this morning, as I pulled my cap and gown out of it’s plastic wrapper and hung it in my room, I was immediately hit with an overwhelming sense of sadness, excitement, fear, happiness, overwhelm, accomplishment, and regret. A combination of emotions that took over my body and sent tears to my eyes.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a senior in high school?

I think this is a thought that all college seniors whisper to themselves. Ask anyone who is graduating, and the first thing they’ll say is “time flew by”. And as I sit here, in a popular coffee shop on campus, and write this, I look out at all the students around me, the freshman, sophomores, and juniors, and I think, damn, I wish I could go back again.

But this isn’t a normal thought for me. Not at all. As a matter of fact, if you had talked to me yesterday, I would have said something along the lines of, I can’t wait to graduate and get on with my life, college just wasn’t really my thing.

College wasn’t really my thing. Did you catch that?

As emotional as I was this morning, I wasn’t emotional because I am going to miss college. I was emotional because I didn’t make enough out of college.

And here’s why:

To me, college was a place full of parties, freedom, friends, Greek life, late nights partying, knowledge, professors, late nights studying, and eventually, a degree.

College was not a place for growth, for contribution, for involvement, for having deep conversations on a Tuesday night about the greater purpose of life, for gaining mentors, for exploration, for making a difference.

And that’s where I fucked up.

I was never taught the importance of truly getting involved.

“Getting involved” to me was joining a sorority; that was normal. That was where I would find the parties, freedom, friends, late nights partying. And you know what? The first semester I joined was awesome, I truly thought I had found my place. But the second semester, it was different. I was different. I had spent my summer in a very intense position as a sales manager, and in that summer, I had experienced more growth than my previous 19 years of life.

When I came back, I had lost connection. I wanted the deeper conversations, I wanted the strong friendships, I wanted the support, and I couldn’t find it. And any glimpse I found, it just didn’t feel right to me. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; I had changed. I was no longer the person I was when I joined. So, I disaffiliated.

I felt abnormal. My expectations of my sorority were crushed. My reality had been altered and I didn’t know how to adjust.

I threw myself into my work, both my school work, and my sales job. This felt normal to me. This was what college was about, too. The knowledge, the professors, the late nights studying, and eventually, the degree.

I wasn’t aware that there were other ways of getting involved, because to me, my college life was supposed to include a sorority.

That was where I was supposed to find my future bridesmaids.

And when my expectations did not meet reality, I crumbled.

Eventually, I found girls who I could resonate with. Who I felt as though I could grow with. Who I could have those deep conversations with on a Tuesday night. Who would be my bridesmaids. 

I felt content, but with that content came complacency. I faded into the background of a very large school, and I stopped trying to “get involved”.

There were glimpses of involvement: a semester playing club water polo, a semester in our school’s leadership program, and currently, during my last semester, a semester in our Entrepreneur Club.

With the exception of E-Club, none of them felt like “home” to me. I just couldn’t find where I fit in outside of my little friend group. So, I would just stop going.

And then came study abroad. I passed up on that opportunity. Do you want to know why? I was afraid of “missing out”. Are you fucking kidding me!? Excuse my french, but quite honestly, I wish someone had smacked me in the face at that point in my life and said DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. 

I was too wrapped up in the idea of creating the “college life” I had dreamed of, but hadn’t yet achieved.

Did you get that last part?

I was too wrapped up trying to match my expectations that I forgot to pay attention to my reality.

And eventually, I had a falling out with my group of friends, not a huge falling out by any means, but once again, the expectations I had for our friendship had been altered. I was growing in my own way, and they were growing in their own ways. And thus, we grew apart.

So now, there is one month left until graduation. And as I stared at my cap and gown this morning, I was hit with so many emotions. So many things I wish I had done.

But you know what? I didn’t. And I can’t go back now.

I have come to terms with the fact that my expectations did not meet reality, and that’s okay.

I created my own reality outside of school. I just didn’t realize it. I was involved in other places, just not the typical places. Most people don’t find life long friendships from their summer jobs, but I did.

Most people are too afraid to step away from what is normal. I was.

But without noticing it, I did.

And after sitting down a really reflecting on these last 4 years, while there are some things I wish I did differently, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

As they say, “Everything Happens For A Reason”. And here I am today, for a reason, and a reason that I am still figuring out.

College wasn’t really my thing. But because of college, I found my “thing”. And I’m grateful for every step along the way that has ended me up here.

So my advice to you?

If you are going into college, or still in college: Do everything you can to study abroad. Whether it’s for a month or 4 months. Just do it. Do everything you can to get involved beyond just Greek life. There are amazing clubs and organizations on your campus that serve a bigger purpose. Just do it. Get involved and create a name for yourself. You deserve this.

If you are graduating and you feel as though your expectations were not met: That’s reality. I’ve been there. I’m still there. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the next 4 years of your life meaningful. The saying “college is the best 4 years of your life” is bullshit, don’t buy in to it.

If you are graduating and you loved every second of your college experience: GREAT! That’s incredible and you will tell your children stories for years and years to come. But remember, this chapter of your life has come to an end. Don’t forget to carry your excitement on to the next chapter, because remember, “time flies by”, keep making an impact.

Life is crazy, isn’t it?

If you liked what you read and are looking for more insight, click here to follow me on Facebook!

Xoxo,

Shelby

P.S. You ever realize you totally neglected to add something in a blog? Ok, good I’m not alone because I feel like a total jerk: At the beginning of my junior year, I was fortunate enough to gain membership into the Executive Mentor Scholars Program at my school, and I was paired with a fabulous mentor who really helped me work through some major decisions I made that actually lead to my current reality. That was probably the one thing I actually allowed me to get slightly more involved on campus.

 

When You’re Not You.

5 Minute Read.

These last 2 weeks have been a blur. And I couldn’t exactly figure out why until this morning. You know those moments of clarity, when your mind all of a sudden goes “OHHHHH, I GOT IT!” And you finally feel at peace? Well about 2 hours ago, my mind slipped into that place and I am so damn happy it did.

I think you need a little bit of background here, yeah? I’m going to ask you permission to get candid, not that I really need your permission, because, hey! This is my blog, isn’t it? But anyways, here I am, asking you for permission to dig deep. And my hope is that I can inspire you to do the same, especially when you find yourself in the position I’ve been in the last 2 weeks.

It all started on March 10th…..

I went into Philly for an event with my company, I had high hopes going into that event, and although it didn’t pan out quite the way I wanted it, too, it was still a successful night in my book. However, when I say night, I usually mean “ends at 11:30” kind of night. You see, I’m pretty systematic, I enjoy structure, and I enjoy a full day. So my bed time is 11:30 and my morning starts at 6:30. It’s just the way it is. However, this particular night dragged on until about 2 AM in the morning, and while it was a total blast, it threw me for a loop.

That loop continued into Friday, where I decided to sleep in to about 11 AM, which, if you know me, is very, very rare. I went about my daily routine, and I had a whole afternoon/evening scheduled to work on my business; if you can’t tell already, I’m not really the “get wasted and stay up all night” type of girl. I was at one point, but now I’m on to bigger and better things. And in my book, those better things revolve around my health coaching business. Yet, I decided, you know what? I’m only young once, so screw it! Let’s go back to Philly.

So I did. With one of my best friends in tow, we went back to Philly and had yet another late, late night. This night was filled with more alcohol than the night before, more food, more money spent, and ofcourse, some new friends. In many people’s books, this would be considered a “successful night”. But remember, I put off my work to do this. So I was backtracking–but I didn’t care, I was having fun.

Saturday Morning, I had already planned to do a St. Patty’s Day Bar Crawl with my best friend since 2008, and her boyfriend. I know I mentioned above that I’m not the “drinking and partying” type, but every once in a while, I actually do schedule in some good ol’ 22-year-old fun. And this was in my schedule. All day and all night we drank and we partied, we spent money, and we ate lots of delicious foods, and again, made some new friends, and saw some old.

And by Sunday Morning, I was DONE. Like SO done. All I wanted was my own bed, my blankey (yes, I still have one), some Advil, and that thing called sleep, which I had clearly forgotten about the last 4 days. And sleep I did. All day, with the exception of a few short hours that I was awake and working on catching up on all of the things I pushed to the side, but I felt so scatter brained and overwhelmed by the amount of work I needed to do, that again, I pushed the majority of it to the side. Little did I know what a whirlwind that would send me in over the next 2 weeks.

From the outside looking in, I am incredibly put together. I often get told to “slow down” and “enjoy your 20s”. Listen, when I’m working on my passions, and when I am excelling in my business, that’s when I feel most fulfilled, because it means I am helping more people and I am creating a better future for myself and my family. But nonetheless, everyone has their own way of living, and I respect that. So like I said, from the outside looking in, I’ve got it “goin on”. But little did I know, the next two weeks would be some of the toughest I’ve dealt with in a while….

Before I dive in to this, because I am putting this out there on the Internet, I feel as though I must say this: By no means do I believe my problems are bigger than anyone else’s. I understand that I have lived a beautiful life and continue to live a beautiful life. But my problems are MY problems, so I still deal with them and they’re still tough.

Anyways, in the next 2 weeks, I was playing catch up. I fell into this “funk”, all I wanted to do was sleep in, watch Netflix, and complain about how ready I am to graduate and be done with school. So you know what I did? Just that. My business suffered, and my grades suffered. Again, I was able to put on a good face, because I didn’t want to bring anyone else down with me, but my mind was racing, over and over agiain;  snap out of it.

And there were moments of clarity, where I was actually able to get out of bed at 6:30 AM, get to the gym, and continue on throughout my day in a productive and excited state, like I normally am. But there were more days where I struggled to get up and get moving, then there were like the one I just described.

I was not myself. Ever feel that way?

I was misaligned with my core values.

I was veering off course.

I was letting one day blur into the next.

Well, this morning, I realized it; I was neglecting to feed my soul, and instead I was doing what everyone else was telling me was “normal”.

Oh, you’re 22, you should be getting drunk every weekend! Live a little!

All of your classes start after 11 AM? Oh my gosh! You should be sleeping in!

You’re still in college, you still have time to binge watch Netflix, just wait until you have responsibilities!

I was hearing these things, and I was letting them sink in.

I was silencing that inner voice inside of me that was saying “you’re different. You’ve got something really big and beautiful to bring to this world.”

I was being selfish; I wasn’t moving forward.

But at the same time, I understand what everyone was saying, “slow down”. College is the years of the least amount of responsibility and the most amount of freedom.

The most amount of freedom.

I beg to differ. The reason why I am working so damn hard is so I can create a life with unlimited freedom. But unfortunately, for most people, they just don’t think it’s possible for them. So, they NEED to live it up in college, because once the real world hits, there will just be no time for that.

My soul was telling me differently. Do you know how I know? Because when I was doing “the normal” I was falling into a funk, an almost depression-like state, where I wasn’t present in the moment, and instead living overwhelmed days, wondering “when am I going to snap out of it?”

This morning, my inner voice spoke to me. It told me, “you haven’t been you recently. But that’s okay. That’s the beauty of life. Now that you’ve realized it, it’s your duty to grow stronger.”

So here I am, being candid with all of you, letting you know that despite how “put together” someone may look on the outside, we ALL have struggles, we all deal with issues. And we all feel off course for days, weeks, and sometimes even months and years. But that doesn’t have to become a permanent reality. Because we are human, and we are WAY stronger than that.

I believe that society puts this stereotype on college, “the best 4 years of your life”, so every student feels as though they need make the absolute most of it, and for many, that means compromising their values, drinking themselves into oblivion, trying every drug in the book, and allowing one day to blur into the next.

I’m not knocking that life. You should have seen me during my freshman and sophomore year. But, don’t let that “life” take you away from your true calling; what your soul is trying to say to you. If you know you are meant for more, go out and become MORE. YOU deserve it, and so does your future, because let’s be real here, who honestly wants their college years to be the “best years of their life”, doesn’t that mean you peak in your early 20s? What does that say about the next 60-80 years of your life? That you will never be as happy as you were when you were 22? How sad is that…..

I hope this gave you something to think about; if you enjoyed reading, and would like to gain a little more insight into my life, follow me on Facebook!

Until next time….

Shelby