I can still remember the way the cap felt as it flew out of my hands towards the bright blue summer sky. There is something about a busy October afternoon that always brings me back to that morning in June almost three years ago. The way that the turf felt against the skin peaking through my sandals. Five hundred and thirty eight smiling faces, blurred in a sea of red and gold tassels. I remember feeling invincible, knowing that this moment was the start to the best four years of my life.
But today, it is a cold, gloomy Monday afternoon in upstate New York, and I can’t help but feel completely overwhelmed with how fast the hands on my clock are ticking. The girl two tables over is discussing upcoming exams with a sorority sister and the boy across from me is typing at lightening speed in attempts to submit his paper to blackboard before the midnight deadline. I, myself, have a paper due before day break, but instead my fingers are fumbling across my keyboard, typing letters onto an untitled word document, trying to express the ever present sinking feeling in my chest.
This is being 20 and scared.
Well, this is being 19 and scared, but the calendar has no time to waste and my twentieth birthday is rapidly approaching within the coming days. I cannot help but worry about whether or not I will make my parents proud in the coming years as I approach the working world. Will I graduate on time? Will I find a job? Each question lingering, one louder than the next, growing more deafening with each passing day. I stop for a moment and wish that I could press pause and give myself more time to figure all of this out.
This is being 20 (sort of) and scared.
But this is also being 20 and hopeful.
This is being 20 and knowing that each one of my peers is walking in the same shoes that I am. And while some may walk more gracefully than others, I can’t help but take a deep breath and attempt to let the rest fall into place exactly how it’s supposed to. My friends and I have found a name for this feeling: We call it the quarter life crisis. It can be looked at similarly to the midlife crisis because of the occasional episodes of binge drinking, but just without the expensive car purchase and receding hairline that follows. And like all feelings and all phases, this too shall pass. I can only hope that in the coming years my hands will once again feel a cap slip out of my dainty fingers towards a bright blue sky and an even brighter chapter of this beautiful life.