The Struggle Is Real: Don’t You Give Up
Humans are more than 99% genetically similar to one another; only the smallest, slightest of things inside us make us different
As the Biebs sings the lyrics “Don’t you give up, nah nah nah, I won’t give up, nah nah nah,” through the radio in my room, I take his lyrics in a different context. Sometimes, we feel like the weight of the world is pushing straight down on us. We feel like we can’t breathe, can’t relax, can’t focus, can’t keep going. But to that I say: Don’t you give up!
I am 22 years young, and in just under 2 months I will graduate from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional and Technical Communication. I tell you this because I want to tell you about some common struggles that I went through on my way to my degree, in the hopes that I can help ease your worries and let you know that, whatever your circumstances, everything is going to be okay.
I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18, and I went to live near my college campus in an apartment with my older sister. I took 16 credit hours during my first semester at college. Looking back, this was the best thing I could’ve done for myself even though it was by no means easy. Keeping up with my coursework proved to be overwhelming for me as a high school grad. I had to learn very fast how to manage my time and responsibilities as an adult. One weekend, my sister and I visited my parents. As we were driving back home Sunday night, I was overcome with sadness. I was sad because my life had changed and become something that was so much harder to deal with than I ever thought it could be. I remember driving the whole hour-long trip back with tears silently running down my face.
As I continued working towards my degree, my 15 credit hours became easier to manage since I did it every semester. I found a new lane and switched my major to Technical Communication. I frequently impressed my professors by demonstrating strong work ethics. I even managed to get a part-time job off campus to support myself. Through this part-time job, I made some great friends with whom I have some wonderful memories. I met a boyfriend through this job too (it wasn’t the best relationship, but that’s how you learn things, right?) Everything in my life was getting easier to deal with, and I absolutely loved being independent and self-sufficient.
Then, one day, my sister said she was moving out with her boyfriend. Seeing as she paid half of the rent, I knew I couldn’t afford our apartment on my own. I was heartbroken after leaving my first apartment; I loved it so much. I was upset about having to move, but there was nothing I could do. I moved out and moved into a room in my other sister’s house. I left my job and all the friends and relationships I had made behind.
Now that I’m graduating, I have new worries. I’ve been relentlessly applying for jobs for after graduation that I’m not hearing back from. I haven’t heard back from anyone. As a communicator, this is especially exasperating and heart-breaking. Is there something I am not communicating clearly to potential employers? Probably. I just don’t know what it is. Is it because I’m inexperienced? Also likely. But tell me, how am I supposed to be experienced when I’m a new college graduate? Isn’t 4 years of study in the field of technical communication “experience”? I had a professor who told me it was. The difference is I wasn’t paid for it.
My emerging adulthood story so far isn’t very unique, but I share it with you because I want you to know that you are by no means alone in your life struggles. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stayed up all night through to the morning working on a project, or the number of times I’ve looked at my bank account and wondered how I was going to provide for myself. The thing is, you can’t let your emotions get you down. We all go through the same exact feelings, be they in different scenarios. After all, humans are more than 99% genetically similar to one another. Only the smallest, slightest of things inside us make us different. If you want to focus only on yourself and say that your problems are more important or different than those of others, you can. But you’ll be missing the bigger picture: we all have the same struggles. We need to feel and understand our emotions. Then, we must realize that whatever we go through in our ordinary lives, other people experience it too. So, keep on going. Keep pushing towards your goals. Keep working hard. You will get there if you have the talent and the passion. Stay humble, and prosper.