Good Evening Graduates, Parents, Family and friends:
Firstly, I want to say Congratulations, you’ve made it. It’s crazy to imagine that I was sitting in this very seat one year ago… I was both wide eyed and teary eyed, filled with joy but also a bit of sadness knowing that the 5 years we have all experienced together, would be coming to an end.
What I wasn’t expecting as I was anticipating graduation was the year of uncertainty that would soon follow. I will later call this “my transition year.” Like many of you, I was extremely active during my undergraduate career. I filled my time with friends, part time jobs, involvement in multiple on and off campus organizations, nightlife and left a few hours for schoolwork. During the summer, my friends and I traveled to several countries, partied together up and down the east coast and celebrated our freedom and the successes to come.
That stint lasted for about three months and then slowly each friend migrated to their respective locations to begin “adulting.” Then there was me.
Though originally from New York, I chose to stay in Boston to pursue employment at one of Boston’s prestigious hospitals and for my boyfriend who was invested in his career in the area. While my friends were beginning and discussing their amazing careers, I found myself underemployed and studying for my boards. After passing my boards, I then preoccupied my time utilizing connections, determined to ONLY be placed at either Mass General or Brigham and Women’s, because I too wanted to boast about being the best, working for the best, and being “successful.” After many failed attempts, I found myself, for the first time in my life, to be in a regressive, despondent state. On instagram and twitter, everyone celebrated their successes and I felt without purpose, hopeless. Luckily for me, or so I thought, I had an amazing boyfriend who had his life together, knew his purpose, I could just help him achieve his goals until I figured mine out, RIGHT? Wrong. Being goal oriented and self-motivated were some of the qualities, he most admired about me and he soon noticed my pessimism and lack of inspiration. He encouraged me to find a path of my own stating that with patience, a version of success, tailored for you will find you. Though great advice, it was flawed.
Success will not find you. You must find it.
The first step to success is having a goal and goal is a plan that is both measurable and obtainable. So I made two goals for myself: one professional and one personal. The first, professionally, Within one month, obtain employment at an institution that offers certifications to being versed in multiple specialties. So I started interviewing! Northeastern does an amazing job at preparing us for the interview process, so in that aspect you have nothing to worry about. We are equipped with your arsenal of politically correct responses and with the tools to turn all of our weaknesses into calculated strengths. I had that same arsenal and was confident in it’s ability until asked my first question, “Tell me about yourself”
I always start with , “a recent graduate of Northeastern University, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a minor in Psychology…” After that a quick decision has to be made about whether I’m going to discuss who I WAS and cite various on campus involvement or who I AM. The singular problem with that statement and during this transition year was I didn’t know who I was. I spent 5 years dedicating my time and energy to all these various outlets and people, but I never took the time or realized that I was neglecting myself. Everything new that I experienced during my undergraduate career was with my network of friends and colleagues never because I set out to do something independently for myself!
This leads me to my second goal, try something NEW at least once every 30 days. For me, that involved becoming active. I declared sophomore year, one day in Marino that I HATED THE GYM! I HATED ORGANIZED WORKOUTS! I HATED SWEATING! IT STINKS! But I gave it a go. I tried a hip hop class, a yoga class, and I even worked out independently in my apartment building’s gym. What I found out was I actually don’t hate the gym. I hated not knowing what to do and not getting the results I expected after a few days of dedication. Committing myself to these activities not only released endorphins from the physical exertion of exercising but I was filled with peace knowing that I had set a goal and I was working towards obtaining it! Though I still haven’t achieved what I want physically, YET, I remain vigilant and refuse to get discouraged.
This transition year has taught me that though equipped well to excel professionally, no one warns you of the post-grad year that you essentially have to endure alone. Battling for financial and job security, being separated geographically from your former support system, dealing with professional nuances. By taking lessons passed down to you from your parents, and your parents’ parents, experiences you’ve overcome during your college career and add a bit of self-exploration… you’ll master this upcoming year and the decade to come.
But just in case you don’t or you don’t find your version of success as rapidly as you imagined, know that you’re not alone. My circle is full of recent Northeastern graduates all had our own struggles to overcome, professionally, with our personal lives and with love.
Before I go, I want to add to your arsenal of knowledge. A good friend of mine recommended a book titled, “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- and how to make the most of them now,” by Meg Jay, a renowned psychoanalyst. This book provides insight into the minds of other twenty-somethings that are going through similar situations. Though it won’t tell you what to do, through personal accounts of her sessions it sets out to inspire, motivate and educate us on how we can figure it all out. It reminds us that we’re all brothers and sisters in struggle!
So i’ll leave you with this, Dale Carnegie once said “Inaction breeds fear and doubt. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it, go out and get busy.”
So, once again, congratulations, Class of 2016! You’ve made it, and remember you will survive.
Guest Blogger: Jessica Racine
You can find her here: @Vivala_Mode
Three women going through life.