The first year.

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Almost six months into the second year, and I needed to write this. Before I could write anything else, to get this one out. I’ve been trying for a while, but today it happened and it could be better but I’m good with it just being. –H.

Saying “your first year out of college is really hard” to a person in their senior year is like telling a senior in high school that “freshman year will be so much fun”. They get it. They hear it over and over, in fact. But they still find themselves completely unsure of what to do when mom and dad pull away from campus and they’re really left all alone. They eventually figure it out, and probably have a little too much fun in the meantime, but they walk away, typically, without better words to explain the phenomena they’ve just experienced. You’ll hear them say to new high school grads “freshman year is so much fun.”

Being a college grad is the opposite of fun, at first anyway. You realize you know absolutely nothing, and this time mom and dad drive away it’s a little less exciting and a little more terrifying. Over the course of the year, you figure it out, typically with a few more tears than the years previous, and at the end of the year, you chalk it up to the first year out of college and celebrate the beginning of a new season, one in which you actually might know a little bit of what you’re doing.

My first year out of college came and went just like that. It was messy and hard and overwhelming, and I look back and realize it was 75% all up in my head. I worked for a wonderful church that was going through a lot of transition, and sometimes I got stuck in the cracks of transition. And it was just what I needed. It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t a superstar. The first time that I didn’t own the world and feel competent to run it with my bare hands.

I learned a lot about who I was and who I wasn’t. I began to understand my desire for autonomy as a personal need–the way in which I was created to fill my place in the world–instead of an inability to submit to authority, something I haven’t quite figured all the way out yet. I learned about submission and seasons and what it looks like to be fully alive in a situation you don’t like. (I learned from failure on that last one.)

Actually, I learned from failure a lot that year. I learned what it was to be just alright at something and that be enough. To depend on God and for God not to come through in the way you thought He would–with miracles and lightning bolts–but to see His movement just the same. I learned that, in some seasons, my fingers can’t type in this space because my brain can’t process in a way that would work itself out onto a screen without phone calls from a worried mom and questioning hearts from those on the edges.

I learned to embrace, however, that I am a writer. That it’s a part of me. Not just something I choose because I enjoy it, but the way in which I best process. I learned even more that I’m a planner. Of events and situations and businesses. That I thrive on it all. Because Dot was created in that first year. Really created. She went from a developed idea in a classroom to a line of products I could hold in my hand in that year. She became tangible and overwhelmingly good in that year.

I don’t have answers for you first-years. Other than to say it does kind of suck, and it will get better. I don’t have answers other than to say that you aren’t crazy, and then sometimes you really are, and that’s okay too. That there’s a plan in it all, and you’ve got to walk it out, and even the really scary parts that you’re not sure could end up good, ever, they’ll be good somehow too. Somehow, you’ll be thankful. So that’s the first year. And the blocks that stacked together to make the second one that much sweeter.

’til next time.
–Hallie

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