Filter This

Before you read this article, I would like to address that I am elated to be attending Howard University in the fall and I honestly couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. However, I have not always felt like this. The road leading up to the path I am now on was in no way shape or form smooth. I just wanted to use this article to show that tough times do get better, even when we don’t think so. So here are my painfully human thoughts about a confusing time in my life that I am now thankful to have experienced.

As most people know, senior year is a year of figuring out where you want to take your life. You are the one who has to make a decision to determine where you will end up for the next four years. And let me tell you, it’s a slightly daunting task for indecisive humans, such as myself. I have always been the person who has no flipping clue where I wanted to end up, even when those around me knew which college they would be attending since middle school.

It’s not like I don’t have options; my dad told me “options” is the most powerful word in the dictionary. So why is it, that with so many options, I feel like I have none? This is yet another one in my book full of paradoxes.

It seems that my senior year is a compiled heap of paradoxes, ironies, and everything in between. Am I okay with that? I’m not sure. Is it okay that I’m unsure? I think so. I just figured out why I feel so contained and so pressured to announce where I am going when my heart just isn’t in to it. My mind is confused, yet all I seem to care about is sketching out the letters of a college and taping it above my picture in the senior hallway for everyone to see. All I seem to care about is being able to finally say on Instagram, “Beyond excited to be attending ___ for the next four years! Go (insert mascot)!” All I seem to care about is other people’s reactions to my life.

When I got ready to post the picture of where I know I am going for the next four years, I just couldn’t press post. Because, at the moment, I’m just a little confused. I thought that if I faked it ‘til I made it and saw how excited other people would be for me, my excitement would somehow elevate. I thought that all of my confusion would dissipate with each double tap, each comment. Yet, instead of posting the picture that I knew would make things official, I went into my mom’s bedroom and cried at the prospect of exposing myself. She comforted me and told me that I don’t have to be fake. I need to be making the decision for myself. She told me that people get so caught up in likes and pictures and what not, and as I cried into a tissue, I realized that she was 100% without a doubt correct. I cared too much.

I think this college process has been a lot of things I had not been expecting. I since junior year, I have strived to give off a confident persona, hoping that people would associate a laid back yet strong person to myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have not been faking the confidence I gained my junior year of high school. However, I think the college process has given me more reason to doubt my abilities, and thus made me depend on others for reassurance and comfort. In other words, I’ve spent too much time checking how many likes I’ve received and I am not afraid to admit that.

I am human, and in no way have my life together. But what I want to get across is that these emotions I am feeling, that you may be feeling, are normal. I don’t have an insanely wise way of wrapping up this article, or life changing advice on how to be happy all the time.

So instead of leaving you with my own advice, here is someone else’s:

“But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him into places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

 -The Alchemist, Paulo Cohelo