For most people, January first would signal the beginning of a brand new year and a brand new start. However, for anyone in college, or school, or even a seasonal career, September is really where the start is.
See, September is when we decide who we want to be and what changes we’d like to make to our lifestyle. For many, September is the beginning of first year at college or university; when one transitions from high school to a post-secondary education. It is the start of a new life as a new person, where for the next couple of years, you will become devoted to finding who you are and what you want to become. This experience comes with many things; a new environment, new friends, new habits–both bad and good–and promises to yourself to attempt to stick to studying over partying (which I know is such a difficult decision to make.) This September will be your first time going into a lecture hall and dealing with professors. It will be your first time having to worry about the books you need to get, your timetables, what subjects you’re taking, what course of direction you want to go into. This will be the first September where you will have headaches over essays that aren’t due for another two months, mid-terms that are coming up that require you to shovel information into your head like a dump truck, and sweating already from the dreadful 2-hour final exams that you’ve never taken before. The beginning of the year that is filled with so many opportunities and things to take advantage of. The first September to experience what it’s like to live with a roommate, or in the case of those commuting from home, trying to test the waters with your parents and see how much freedom you’re entitled to. This will also be the first September where you’ll lose sleep for no reason, your hair may turn grey, and you’ll be ordering takeout like it’s a full-time job. However, on that note, this will also be the first September where you may make friends that will one day stand beside you at your wedding, or may be your future spouse, the parent or god-parent of your children, or the person to screw you over like no one ever has before. This may be the year you get to experience what independence truly is, and learn to say no to unlimited freedom, and understand that $4.50 hotdogs are considered expensive, and that Starbucks is only helpful for their free wi-fi. The essays you have may not be due for another three months, but let me tell you, there’s usually a reason for that. You’ll have deadlines you weren’t used to, and be told that three of your finals are on the same day. You will experience a stress you never have before in high school and it’ll be tough but it’s okay to ask for help. It’s always okay to reach out to a classmate or a professor if it’s getting too much to handle. There are always services and advisers that will guide you to solutions because you’ll always be surrounded by people, You’ll see a change within yourself, and those who mattered in high school, may no longer matter anymore. The people you were never accustomed to talking to, will suddenly become your best friend. Those cliques in high school, the ones you never mixed with because they were too geeky, too popular, too weird, too materialistic, or filled with drama, will all disappear and everyone will reach an equality. Scrolling through your notifications on Facebook, you’ll see that scrawny kid you never talked to in person will become a professional football athlete. That girl that used to be the hottest chick in school is in rehab and pregnant. The nerd everyone made fun of got into the nation’s top university with a full scholarship and now has too many “friends” vying for his attention. Everything changes, everyone changes and it’s one of the most sudden transitions of your life. I can tell you, from personal experience, that everything you once knew about someone can change in a single instant. The person you thought was your best friend can become your worst influence, your worst decision and your worst enemy. This September will determine everything you’re going to become as a young adult and exactly which direction in life you’re headed in.
For some of us, this September is returning to our universities and colleges as a fresh start. We’re a little bit older now, so we’ve gone through that whole freshman-year-of-college stuff. We’ve gone through what it’s like to constantly party, and be so drunk we don’t remember a single thing. We know what it’s like to finish an entire 26 in a single night, and try things we’ve never done before. We’ve experienced the odd roommates, the thieves and the ones that have too much sex and put us in awkward situations. We’ve met people who walk around naked and do crazy things, and some unique international exchange students that simply refuse to understand what we’re trying to explain. We’ve signed up for all the clubs and never made it to a single meeting, we’ve promised ourselves to pay back some of loans and never got around to it, we’ve told ourselves we’re going to better “next term” and still procrastinated. We know what it’s like to wait till the night before an assignment is due that’s worth 60% of our mark to do it and stayed up drinking Monstar and 5-hour energy drinks and getting hyped off sugary foods. We’ve been through that “freshman 15″ and trying to make every single football game to show off our school pride, and we’ve sat through hours of lectures of a boring professor repeating the same friggen thing he asked us to read in our textbooks in the first place, word for word. We’ve gone through the Professors that are rude and think they’re in a hierarchy because they have a Ph. D. and we don’t and thus it gives them the power to believe they are right because they say so. We’ve wrote an essay that we thought was the best essay we have ever written and gotten a D+ on it because it wasn’t up to the TA’s standards. We have studied for weeks and days and hours till the very last few seconds of waiting for the doors to open to our exams, and forgotten every single thing the second we sat down to write it. We have thought we aced an exam only to find out we failed it miserably. We have all sat down and looked at our papers and said “What the heck is this crap?” out loud at one point when we had no idea what the question was asking us. We have all changed our multiple choice answers on the scantron because there were too many B’s in a row and prayed to God we changed the right ones. And we all know that the first person to walk out of an exam knew none of the material and probably and undoubtedly failed it. For us, our GPA’s determine where we will be for the rest of the year and what we’ll be doing. It’s more important that money and more important than a social life. It’s the one thing that determines whether or not we’re on the path of success, or failture. For us, this September will be a fresh start to yet another year to look forward to. Another year of change. For some of us, it’ll be our last year. For others, second or third year. For some, it’ll be a second chance and for others, it’ll be a reminder of our past mistakes and acknowledging the consequences our actions bring. It’ll be a year to cut off bad influences and to focus on the good, to make lifestyle changes, and to focus and put forth effort because we are finally adults. Our parents are much more lenient at this point, and start asking about school a lot less than they did a couple years back. Some believe that we are financially independent from them, while others try and do everything to keep their now-grown-child under their roof for as long as possible. But once you’ve hit 20, there’s no turning back. There’s no excuse for being a teenager or being reckless because you are 110% capable of handling your own (or I would hope so.) This September means change and a growth in mentality. Maturity and a hopefully achieving a level of understanding you didn’t have before. This September is the start of adulthood.
Now lastly, for those who have recently graduated, this month will be the start of ultimate responsibility. It will be the first time you show up at your workplace with a suit or formal clothing on, learning to walk around in heels at the office, putting on a lab coat as a certified physicist, or pursuing a Master’s or Ph.D. This also may be the first day of medical school or law school, where the tuition is high and the pressure and competition becomes unbearable at times. This may be the September where you start your first salary-based pay, begin your career, and pray to God that you don’t do anything to get you fired. This will be the September where you’ll have legitimate bills to pay, taxes to file, and perhaps even start a married life. The year to understand how mortgages work and start budgeting to make sure you don’t go broke before the end of the month and worry about continuing as a single bachelor(ette) or pursue the girl you’ve been in a relationship with for the past 4 years to become your lawfully wedded wife. This is the point of your life where you’re smack in the middle of an adult life, and no one ID’s you anymore. Where all your facial hair is capable of a full fledged beard during Movember and for some of you, a mini beer belly coming in. This is the “grown-up” stage of life where you reminisce your first year of college and wish you could go back, or in other cases, wish you could have done things differently. I’m not at this stage of life yet, so I can’t really be too detailed because Lord knows, I’m scared to even get to this point. Where I know I’m a full fledged adult and have way too many responsibilities that high school forgot to teach me about.
To be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared of what the future may bring and I’m terrified of hitting rock bottom, but I refuse to lay down and wait for my death certificate to appear because that is not what life is about. Life is about living and not many people have the chance to do that. For me, September is another day, and a fresh start as always. It is the beginning of a chance to turn my life back around the way I need it to. To not make the same mistakes I’ve made in the last 20 years and learn to appreciate the constant lectures my parents and elder family members gave me when I was younger. I know I didn’t want to listen then, but I realize they were right for the most part. My point is, one does not stress about not doing something because they’re asking you to be cautious; one stresses about something only when they have experienced it first-hand and know the consequences. God knows where I’d be if I had extremely liberal parents that supported all of my negative decisions because I am “my own person.” I’m glad I had discipline, both verbal and physical, because I needed them. However, the one thing I can guarantee to all of you that is currently reading this is you will make mistakes. You will screw up (I’d use the f word here for the emphasis and the correct extent of how badly you may screw up, but I’m trying not to curse) and you will not move forward if you don’t learn from it. When you feel like life is falling apart, which you will perhaps a hundred times in your life, or even this year, you can sit there and cry about it. You can go out drinking or do drugs or copulate with multiple partners to make yourself feel better, but it will not elevate you, and it will not change your circumstances. It will leave you with regret and the feeling of being lost or feeling idiotic, so you know what you do? You do something about it. You change your actions, you change your life, and you keep moving forward (to quote Meet the Robinsons.) Life can always get worse, and it can always get better. Count your blessings, not your struggles, because there is always someone out there who will think your worst struggle is their biggest blessing. So take this September as a fresh start, a new outlook on life, and patiently live it. Think about your decisions before you make them and be smart about it. Not everyone is privileged with a maturity or level of open-mindedness to understand the full extent of the meaning in this message, but if you are one of them, I pray and hope that you can take something from this.
I raise my glass to you, and wish you the best. You can forget all you want, all your notes, all your appointments, but never forget this:
You are blessed.
Sometimes you need to let go of the better things in order to get to the best.
-The Righter (@sriffa_xo)