In the movies you always see college acceptances go a bit like this: a girl (or boy) shakily opens a big white envelope. They hold their breath as they peer at what’s inside. Usually following is a sigh of relief as they can finally bring their shoulders down from their ears. Their dream school wants them. They pack up all their things and in the fall their parents drop them off miles away from home.
Or maybe it may go a bit like I saw at my school. A girl scrolls through her emails, when she suddenly lets out a screech. “I got accepted!” she shouts across the library. Looks of confusion are quickly replaced by claps of joy. She begins to call her mom and she was nearly crying. I couldn’t help but smile with her.
Mine went a bit… average? It was another Dr. appointment Tuesday and I decided to stay home afterwards. While I waited for my mom to come back home from errands I took a nap. After about an hour or so I finally get up and check my email- since that’s apparently something “adults” have to do.
“I’m delighted to offer you admission to the University of Iowa for the fall 2020 session.” Wow. Although no dramatic clapping followed with a cut to the next perfect movie scene, I should be excited. Right?
I go to show my mom and she kisses me on the forehead. “I’m so proud of you Shi,” she says to me as she giggly asks for a photo of the acceptance email. Where’s the uncontrollable screams of excitement? The feeling of all my hard work paying off? People are proud of me but there’s no unison clapping to follow squeaks of joy. Although this scene in my life wasn’t like I always expected it to be, I should be grateful. And I am. I am grateful, I am nervous… and most importantly I am ready.
I always thought you were supposed to dive right into college. This is the deciding point for how the rest of your life is going to go, right? I had a friend tell me it doesn’t matter where you get your education. All that matters is that you’re getting it. That really clicked for me. I always felt I had to make it into the biggest and most challenging school that was halfway across the country- world even. But that’s not true.
You see, I have this really bad thing with anxiety… and my anxiety tries to tell me that I have to have it all figured out right now. I don’t have any time other than right in this very moment to figure things out, and at that, I have to figure everything out. I know, seems like a lot of work right? After being out of school for six months for a cervical surgery I was ready to get back to work. I couldn’t wait to see everything I had missed out on… and being a senior, I had missed a lot.
So I went into panic mode as I tried to figure out my entire life in one week. The first couple weeks of school I sat in the library all day researching colleges I’d never even knew existed. I watched countless YouTube videos, filled out scholarships, read blogs, emails, etc. I was losing it. The fear of settling somewhere where I wasn’t going to be happy haunted me- even in my sleep. How could I be out of school for six months and not even think about a college I wanted to go to… Now when I think back to the beginning of my senior year I think about this quote:
“If your path is completely laid out for you, it is not your path.” This could be taken several different ways. The way I see it is: you cannot enjoy life if you’re always trying to master plan the next move or expect someone else to plan it for you. You simply cannot. You create your path one step at a time, there’s no past or future- only the present. That’s how you know you’re being true to your path, when you plan in the present.
I knew I was being true to my path when I applied to University of Iowa because I stopped worrying about what others were expecting of me, or what I think I should be doing. I stopped and finally asked myself what is best for me right now and what do I actually want. Not what will be the perfect move five years from now but the best move to help me grow right now.
Moral of this story is: the universe will not give you everything exactly how you’re expecting it. That’s a given, but it gives you everything you need to continue growing into the real you. Your most authentic self. It gives you a change of plans which then comes with new opportunities. And with those opportunities you’re given things you never knew you needed. Trust in divine timing.
Although my college acceptance experience didn’t go how I imagined over and over in my head, I know it will still bring me life changing experiences. That’s all that matters. Having room to grow.
Divine timing is the universe guiding you along your path with no rush or strain. Once you allow this in your life there won’t be another plan you’ll worry about again. Not even a college acceptance letter.