Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

We’re in college. Supposedly the best years of our life. That may or may not be true, and I suppose only the future will tell. But graduation is creeping closer and closer, and often it is upon us within the blink of an eye. Wasn’t it just yesterday you were all packed for dorm move-in? And now, a date for graduation looms ahead, signifying the start of a professional career and life beyond university.

Recently, I found out I was approved for summer classes. I was so ecstatic I cried tears of joy. But the realization of what this meant provoked some anxiety. I graduate at the end of this year–much sooner than I had planned– I will take my boards exam, and I will search for a job. I will move out of Indiana, most likely outside of the country. Am I really ready for that?

I’ve always perceived college as the introductory stage of adult life. A learning phase, a trial. Once college is over, life will really start. I will be completely financially independent (Mom, if you’re reading this, you can by all means continue to help me pay my phone bill!) begin searching for jobs, and prioritizing my happiness. I’ve been thinking so much about the future that I’ve lost sight of the present. Yes, all these future things will come. But they aren’t here just yet, and as much as I want to plan and prepare, I’m still in college for the rest of the year. I’m still here at IUP. The profound realization came to me that happiness doesn’t have to come after college. With prioritization, it can come now. Life won’t start once I graduate; it has already begun.

I asked some friends, how do you truly enjoy the present moment? How do you keep your mind off solely the future, and ground yourself in what is happening right now? A wise friend of mine told me she finds three to five things every day that make her feel alive or happy. I never thought of this– for me, I definitely try to prioritize gratitude in my faith by incorporating this in prayer. But I never reflected on what makes me happy in the day, only on what must be done next. Practicing this, I found that there were way more than five things that made me feel happy and alive, even despite the negatives of my day. This is something I will definitely try to continue doing throughout my days to keep my mind on happiness and the present.

Graduation is a huge accomplishment, but it is also normal to feel worry over the impending, uncertain future post-college. Remember that we have studied to be prepared for our career, many of us have lived for the first time in our lives outside of our family home during college, and we have grown immensely as individuals during these years. We are far more prepared than we realize to face the future and what is to come.

One last note of wisdom that was shared with me was by my father. During a spring break visit, I expressed my feelings of concern about the uncertainty of the future. He told me, “things just have a way of falling into place.” No amount of worry or planning can change what is to come, what is meant to happen to us, and how we will grow into our future. We are strong and we will thrive, regardless of what life throws our way.

Tatiana Cleffi is a writer for the Her Campus chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP,) who enjoys writing about her personal experiences, particularly in regards to her Latin culture. She is a senior nursing student who is eager to graduate in December 2023. Tatiana is passionate about bridging the language gap in the healthcare setting. She studied medical Spanish abroad to become better equipped to provide nursing care to a diverse range of patients. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys visiting her husband in Costa Rica, going to the beach, singing on the worship team at her church, and eating pumpkin pie.