Last Monday I submitted my last college assignment. I had my last advisement meeting and walked off of my campus for the last time. I walked through those doors with a smile so wide that it literally hurt my face. I was so excited to finally be finished with college and really relax for the first time in five years, that I didn’t even think of what it would be like once that feeling went away. My elation towards finally getting my degree quickly turned into the realization that I’ve gone from a student, to a 23-year-old woman who waits tables and lives in her parents house. My two week vacation before my intense job hunt seemed to be quickly becoming an anxiety ridden quarter-life crisis.

I’ve spent a lot of the last semester thinking about not only my future but my past. I looked back at everything I’ve done from the minute I graduated high school up until now, and I’ll be honest, I wish I pushed myself to do a little more. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked hard and received a great education but I played it safe. I attended community college fifteen minutes up the road, and graduated to a university 15 minutes in the other direction. I didn’t travel much, but when I did I usually stayed within the lines of my home state. I would visit my friends at school and I would spend a few days, trying to pretend I was getting “the college experience” myself. I made extra money waiting tables at a bar one town over. I spent a lot of time wandering around with no direction.

I don’t regret most of what I’ve done up until this point. Like everyone else in the world, there are a few things I wish I’ve done differently, but I think for the most part I think I’ve played it pretty smart. Looking ahead, I no longer wish that for myself. Now that I have that piece of paper that says I’m capable of making it in the world, I think it’s about time I start trying. I feel as if I have just received a clean slate in my life and I have the opportunity of filling it with whatever I want, so I gave myself two options:

1. Stay at home, find a job, save money, move out.

2. Move to a new city and start over from there.

I spent a long time playing it painfully safe-- safer than most people I’ve met, and that’s okay. I spent a few years using my brain. As I grow older and my heart is seemingly entering the mix, it’s urging me to pick option two. I may love my hometown, but I can’t allow myself to be rooted here. Wanting to start over somewhere new doesn’t mean I want to forget where I’ve spent 23 years getting comfortable in my own skin. It just means I’m ready to end this chapter and start a new one. Graduation gives you an opportunity to start your life the way you want to, it’s just up to you to be brave enough to do just that.

So I’ve graduated college, and I can do whatever I want.

I’ve decided that I’m going to work really f*cking hard and do whatever it is that I have to do to move to a new city, start my life and from there, we'll see where I end up.

It leaves me feeling terrifyingly excited.

So, if you’re like me and find yourself wondering what the f*uck you should do now, I think the answer is pretty easy-- do what your gut tells you to do, and hope you have the people you love cheering you on. Life is about to begin my fellow graduates, get ready.