The weather is warm, and the air has a floral aroma. I suffer from seasonal depression, so it is a miracle when spring rolls around. The sunshine uplifts me to the point that I question whether or not I am part sunflower. I believe that spring is truly a time of rebirth, and as the flowers bloom again so do I. Workloads become smaller, and the campus is alive with activity. This should be my prime time. I am a sophomore, and I should be excited for the next half of my educational journey, however I am finding myself at a loss. I do not know what the future holds for me. Next fall, I am taking six classes, working as a CC for Her Campus, President of French Club, and I am working full time. I have always been a Leslie Knope of sorts, trying to work too hard. This year feels different. I feel more tired, and less capable. Maybe my self esteem needs work but my twice weekly therapy sessions should be doing the trick. Perhaps it is just lingering seasonal affective disorder, creeping its way into my springtime.
Either way, the thought of going home for the summer scares me. I am afraid I am behind in the infinite rat race that comes with being a twenty-something. I just turned twenty, and I feel as if I have accomplished nothing compared to my peers. Kylie Jenner is my age, and I have been pacing my success along with hers. I don’t have any children yet, much to my grandmothers’ dismay, but I also don’t have any businesses, or million dollar ventures. I know it is unfair to me to compare myself with such a rich and privileged woman, but I can’t help it. I live in a social media bubble, and it is near impossible not to equate my own life with others my age, no matter how many differences there are between us. There is a huge pressure placed on me by those awful “I am 19 and financially stable and I just bought 3 houses, what about you?” tweets and societal forces telling me that if I have not made it big by 25, I am essentially over as a person.
This spring is the point at which I am officially established at my university. I see my successes as part of a ranking of everyone else my age. I think unfair expectations from social media and years of public education drilling the thought that I must have a career and a husband by 25 have made this spring feel like a disappointment. In all honesty, and at risk of sounding like I am bragging, I should be proud of myself. I moved to a new city, joined clubs and became #welladjustedadult. I am a leader on campus, and I have a job that gives me amazing networking opportunities. Despite all of this, I am sitting in my dorm feeling sorry for myself that I am not entering the summer with fifteen different internships in fifteen different countries. I am angry that I have not done more to attend school wide events. I still haven’t been to A Little Bit of Texas, a bar that every student on campus has managed to visit. I haven’t secured an internship, and I surely haven’t networked. I didn’t join a sorority, and now I feel too old. I feel like a lot of the traditional college experience has passed me by, and I have been idly watching it. I think that is my motivation, going into my junior year. I am studying abroad in the spring and I am extremely excited to go, but it’s hard to keep that passion up when I am bogged down in seemingly never-ending paperwork and jumping through flaming hoops to get my trip in order. It is natural to feel like this, because college is about finding your passions. I have a note on my wall that says “Stop trying to do everything, and do something.” I live by that motto, and if I find myself drowning in paperwork and school, I remind myself that instead of stretching myself to the breaking point I can excel at a few things instead. So next time you find yourself comparing your life plan to a Kardashian’s, remember you are young and you have time. Take a step back and breathe.