Retamar: A letter to the student who is close to the finish line

Retamar discusses emotions students may face as they near graduation. - Staff Writer / Tatiana Retamar

May 6. 

May 6 to those who are returning students may seem like a regular day to them, they just finished their last final and are packing up their belongings to head home and finally kick start their summer vacation. But, May 6 to others is when their clock officially begins, and life begins to tick. With each tick, you begin to place yourself in a deep rabbit hole of thoughts like “My 4 years are officially over? Am I ready to actually be an adult now? Did I choose the right path for me? What now?” 

I’m here to tell you that as a third-year student, I completely understand that deep-rooted fear of the inevitable future that waits upon you as you hear your name being called, and you take those last few steps on campus as a college student. 

This time last year, I decided to withdraw from New Jersey City University. I was a fourth-year Sociology with a Concentration in Family, Youth, and Health Services major, with big plans to reform foster homes for the youth in inner cities across the U.S. My main goal was to potentially open up my own foster home, called Shannon’s Place after a saying almost every kid or adult would scream down the block “I’m going to Shannon’s Place!” The reason behind the saying is that my family home growing up wasn’t only a safe and secure place for not only my mother’s children, but she also provided that sanctuary for others to come in — either for a hot meal, to get clothes, or find a new pair of shoes. She provided that space to make you feel wanted, heard, loved and seen. 

But one day during my remote statistics class, I decided to leave the zoom meeting. I closed my laptop, and really sat with my thoughts and felt like this isn’t fulfilling me. As much as I grew to love the forever family I had at NJCU, I knew and felt like I deserved more.

As much as I wanted to become a social worker, and help children and families across the world — I just couldn’t help but still feel lost and overwhelmed with what I had planned with my life. I had my brain fixed on what society tells us which is to “major in something that could financially stabilize you and keep you content, no matter how much you may hate it” compared to what they should really be telling you which is “do what the hell your heart desires and follow your own dreams and not the dreams others create for you!” 

I took that leap of faith and followed my gut to officially transfer here to Rowan University. As the day to move into housing came closer, I became more nervous and frightened. I was crumbling my brain with the thought of “What if this was the wrong idea? Am I ready for this change? What if I don’t end up liking it here either?” 

It wasn’t until I officially stepped into my dorm that every worry in my mind went away. 

I realized that it’s okay to worry, it’s okay to overthink, it’s okay to be scared. Being scared is what pushes you to overcome the unthinkable, to make life-changing decisions, and it helps you grow into someone that you’ve been dreading to become for a long time — an adult who has to officially step into the real world on their own. But a saying I always say is that sometimes you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable in order to become the best version of yourself in the long run. 

As you step off that stage, you start as a little stem plant but if you continue to water yourself — you begin to grow into something more beautiful, strong, and reflective. 

Take a deep breath, and step into your future as you begin the biggest adventure of your life. 

Congratulations, you did it!