A Recent College Grad Living Her Own Second Act

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I am a soon to be 23 year old – what do I know about living a second act? It has dawned upon me that everyone has a second act – a transition from one part of life to the next. So here is mine…

A real ending is only marked once you feel it, and thus graduation and the celebrations that followed were not the true ending of my college experience. I obviously knew what was happening but I (also obviously) didn’t feel it. After sixth grade comes seventh, after junior year comes senior year and after college comes…  let’s call it the unknown. Not the type of unknown where you are lost, just the kind where for the first time in your life you do not have anything set in stone. Nothing really prepares you for that – not the speeches your relatives give you at graduation dinners where they promise you that the best is yet to come, not the friendships that you can confidently say will withstand the pending life altering changes – nothing.

After graduation, I started an internship which felt like every other summer. It slightly hit me when the ending of summer did not mark the ending of the internship but rather the beginning of a full time job, but when it really hit me was when I went back to school… as a visitor. 

For someone like me who is very slow to adjust, visiting a place that I was once so comfortable with after a longer period of time is extremely unsettling. Pulling up to campus felt so normal but it realistically and sadly was not. Everything felt the same but was so drastically different. There were faces that I had not recognized in a place that I had spent the last four years calling home. Socially, my friends and I fit right back in. We had the best time. But after mingling, we had no place to go but a hotel room. We had no closets or drawers filled with never ending tailgate clothes – just our suitcases. Another moment that cannot be prepared for – when it hits you. This moment was the true ending. The moment I felt out of place in what was once my comfort zone. The moment that I drove away from campus knowing that I would not be back, and being okay with it. Prior to this moment I had physically moved forward, but I was finally ready to mentally and emotionally move forward as well. 

The reality of it is that there will always be a next chapter, whether or not your path is paved for you. There will always be things to let go of even when you desperately want to hold on forever. But the friendships I found at Syracuse and the many valuable lessons I have learned have prepared me for what comes next, whatever that may be. College is over – it’s weird and unsettling for sure, but it’s life. It’s my second act, and I am ready for it.


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