A friend recently told me a story his dad told him when he first got to college as a freshman, and it has stuck with me these past couple of weeks.
Upon leaving the dorm to drive back to Texas, my friend informs me his dad stops for a second, bends down close and says "don't be afraid to jump". And he never forgot it. I'm not entirely sure what his dad meant by that but over the following months, I came to understand what it could mean in my own personal life.
Upon coming to college I chose Arkansas because I wanted to start again. I knew there would be few people that I knew coming with me and it would be a chance to meet new people and start a new chapter. However, this did not come without trepidation: I was quite nervous about starting over. I knew no one, and felt alone and uncertain at times, but I met a lot of wonderful people whom I am still friends with and wouldn't have met if I had "been afraid to jump" and instead followed the rest of my high school friends to another college.
I made another jump when I decided to change my major the summer after freshman year and was uncertain whether it was a correct career choice. I had begun as a freshman business finance major and was on track for a solid, lucrative career until I realized that I was not cut out for that line of work. I felt my family expected me to do business and I was afraid if I switched I would be behind and not graduate on time with a good job, but I switched anyway to Art school and accepted the challenge of being unemployed upon graduation. Since then it has not been without challenges, and very stressful at times, but it has been rewarding, and since I have actually enjoyed what I have been working on.
I jumped again when I decided to rush a fraternity as a sophomore with 16 hours of classes and no idea how I would be perceived as a greek student in the art department. I received a bid, met a few great guys and formed longterm friendships with them, one of which was in the art department already.
Lastly I jumped again when I took a class I was wildly unprepared for amongst 12 hours of school and two jobs already filling my schedule. I slept infrequently and was stressed most of the time, but it proved to be a good idea when I came out having twice as much experience as before and quite a bit more money saved from all the hours working. My work ethic grew as well, and I feel much better prepared for the workforce having learned to balance 4 things simultaneously at all times.
And now I will jump one more time as a college student, quite possibly farther than I have ever jumped before. I will graduate. It is now time to take a leap of faith, to see if school was really worth all of this money, time, stress, and work. Finding out if the workplace is easier or harder than undergrad is currently taking up all of my subconscious. I wonder if I will lose all of the friends I've worked hard to meet these four years. I wonder if I'll even like working and living alone or if I'll even be able to pay my taxes. I wonder if it will be weird not leaving college with a fiance, like many of my friends. I don't know where I will live, or even where I want to end up, but that's the thing: I won't know until I jump.