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Who Said Graduation Was Happily Ever After?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Photo taken by Tony Cottone

Ah, look at this girl. In this moment, she believes that she has it all figured out. She's thinking "I am the absolute shit". Her entire life, this exact moment, walking across the stage to get her college diploma, was one she and her family had fought and made sacrifices for. Cried for. Gave up vacations and spent nights up crying for. But finally, it was here and it was all worth it. And she'd be damned if she didn't get to soak in that glory, at least for awhile.

If you had asked her how she was feeling about leaving behind the place she'd called home for four years, she would've said fantastic. That she was ready to leave behind the rapid pace of classes, never ending drama, and keeping up with temporary characters we all knew weren't gonna be there next season (and yes, that was shade). The days of hanging out in dirty basements and eating barely digestible food were over, and she wouldn't miss not one bit of it.

Every text message of congratulations from aunties all fueled this newfound confidence. With every "We're so proud of you" and "The best is yet to come" she was convinced that she was going to be Beyonce circa 2003, the year of her breakout. And for the first few weeks, maybe it really did feel that way. She had found herself an internship, she was getting her degree. The world was her oyster. She had done all the things everyone says you have to do to be successful, so that's what was going to happen, right? Right?

That was almost a year ago, and I'm here to tell you that that girl didn't know a damn thing about real life.

Here's the thing about post-grad life; everyone tells you that it sucks. And I am here to confirm that sometimes, it does. Making it to all of my classes or joining enough extracurriculars, which at the time all felt like life altering decisions, are problems I wish I still had. Today, a lot more is being asked of me. Now I have to make financial decisions that are going to affect me for the rest of my life. I have to decide whether to go to grad school and create more debt or take more time off. Do I go out to dinner or do I stop splurging and try to pick up some things for the house to help my parents out? Do I take this unpaid internship that I really love or this full time job that helps pay the bills?

No one told me that after graduation, every decision you make feels like it's going alter the course of your entire life. There are no more clubs to join or advisor meetings to go to. The realization that I was starting my actual life, had me, quite frankly, shook. As I started meeting new people I started to feel like despite doing everything I could in college, I was still underprepared.

I'd thought that little piece of paper was going to save my life. That it meant everything from here on out was going to be fairly easy. Of course I would work hard and hustle, but I wasn't prepared for the constant rejections, the criticism, the questions from family. All the security I thought my diploma granted started to disappear and it was replaced with insecurity and the fear that maybe I didn't even really learn anything in college.

It was setting in that the real world was here to beat my ass. And this was how I felt about it.

So, it's nine months later and do I know what to do now? Absolutely not. At first, there were a lot of days where I felt like just quitting everything and binge watching New Girl until I finally just transformed into Nick Miller. But those are fewer and less in between. Now, I'm putting in the work to get to where I want to be. I'm making sacrifices that sometimes hurt, but I know are critical to my future. I'm focusing on how I can make myself a better worker and person. I'm doing the very best I can. And sometimes it all still feels like it's coming up short. But there are so many little glimmering moments of hope that remind me that this is all worth it. The nights with friends where we sing karaoke with strangers. Getting an internship that I thought I was totally underprepared for. Hearing someone you admire tell you you're doing a great job. Getting into the graduate school of my choice. Those moments give me hope.

I've accepted that I'm not having my Beyonce moment. It's more like a Kelly Rowland, more patient, and the real blow up is soon to come.

And that is why you are reading this blog. This is one of many steps I've decided to take Iyana Skye is where I will be taking you all with me through the journey of my life, while hopefully making you laugh along the way. I will never try to convince you that my life is perfect. Because per this blog post, clearly it's not. It’s just life. The pretty, ugly, and the in between of it all. I hope you come on this journey with me and maybe learn something. Welcome to Iyana Skye!

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