Navigating Post College Life

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I’m typing this as I sit in a room hundreds of miles from where I graduated college, now over a year ago. This past year has officially been one of the most incredible in my life. Every day I am reminded (both fearfully, and passionately) that I am completely in control of how my life looks. There’s nothing to blame what I do, I’m not really obligated to do anything like go to school or follow anyone’s rules. I’m simply running life by my own terms, and all the good and bad that comes with such power is solely my responsibility.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping 
you to achieve it.” 
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

My final year of college was the most difficult by far. I had a lot going on. Some good, some bad, all lessons. My time was stretched thin, and my emotions were pulled all over the board. It was an intense, yet powerful year that pushed me to become a better person on many levels.

During this time, I was fully absorbed in taking Biology classes. This was my major, and a subject I quickly began to loath my senior year. Biology classes require extra time in labs, and extra time for tests, and in general a lot of focus. My senior year was booked academically, and then I was working two jobs on top of this. It was exhausting. I’m still convinced I am recovering from how much sleep I missed out on that year.

At this time, I would be studying or in class or working and would think to myself never again will I spend this much time inside. I needed adventure, and I needed it bad.

By my spring semester, when people would ask that inevitable question, “what are you going to do after you graduate?” (I silently hate myself for asking this question to other people about to graduate, and yet I do it), I would respond “I’m going to be a Wilderness Therapy Guide.” I said this so assuredly, and yet I didn’t even apply to the job until two months before graduation. I’m not one to hold false confidence, but I had a calling that I knew deeply I had to follow.

And, I did.

The day after I graduated, I took an early flight to Utah to participate in a one-week “tryout” for the Wilderness Adventure Therapy company I hoped to work for. I had been backpacking, and had even led backpacking trips before, but in reality had no idea what I needed for this trip.

The week was super informative, loving, and everything I hoped it could be. Minus, getting really unbearably sick for about two days and actually going to the emergency room, the trip was incredible.

By the end of the week I knew I was in the right place, and had nothing but excitement and gratitude when I was offered a position.

Two weeks later, I packed up my things in my car and drove to Utah without a home, but with lots of hope.

This year has been filled with more adventure than I could have ever hoped, and more challenges than I ever expected. I’ve made better friends this passed year than I did throughout four years of college, and I’ve learned more about myself than I could ever have imagined.

While the weeks on trail never really seem to get easier, I grow in my confidence each week that I have the ability to surpass any limitations I have on myself. I continue to surprise myself each week, and have nothing else to choose but personal growth.

While my year of post-college adventure may look very different than yours, the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that you are fully in control of the life you lead, and it is your responsibility to lead the life of your dreams.

The other thing I’ve learned? Dive deep. Go for it. If you fail, you can move on! If you never try, however, you’ll be filled with regret.

Post-college years are terrifying, challenging and exciting. We’re faced into a world where we have some experience, but never feel it’s enough. It’s that time of gaining the knowledge and experience that can guide the rest of our lives.

“To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation.” 
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Embrace your call and sail full force ahead.

xo,

Ashley

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