From the time we are children to middle school till high school, a lot of what we do, how we act, our thoughts are chalked up to puberty, teenage feelings and being "young". Whether that be breaking down because you are just so overwhelmed with life and you are told, “Don’t worry about it, you’re a teenager, stress gets to you,” or your gut tells you one thing, but your brain another on an important decision, where “You should ask for help, you just don’t have the life experience yet”. Or better yet, when you feel something for someone, when does it go from a cute crush to tangible attraction to someone?
I guess this is what college is for?
While I was growing up, especially from I was about 12 until about 16, every time I did something strange, my parents blamed it on “pruning”. When my parents say that, they are referring to a specific National Geographic article they read, but in a general sense, they are referring to a psychological principle. Pruning, or what is actually called synaptic pruning, is in reference to extra neurons in the brain being eliminated to boost the efficiency of neural transmissions. It has been found that a lot of this pruning happens during puberty and sometimes it is used as a rationale for why puberty stricken individuals make odd decisions or act in bizarre manners. So when I would eat cold soup straight out of the can or make up words, it was pruning. When I got really stressed and nearly went off the rails, “Well that's high school for you”. But now, it isn’t high school. I’m in college, I live on my own (#NoRoommateStatus), I am responsible for my own care. So what's to blame when life becomes too much? Is that just college? Or how about when a job comes along. When does this "summer job” become a full-time job, because I just happen to be majoring in the field I currently work in. When does this great transition happen?
I am not writing this because I know the answer, trust me. I wish there were a date and time where “It’s okay, you’ll get another chance” becomes “Suck it up buttercup, that's life for you, get used to it” Believe me, if I had that date and time, I would be able to plan my mistakes so much better. So much better. I’d be sure to get all of my questionable, testing the waters ideas in right before that stroke of midnight, kind of like an essay for class. Unfortunately, that date does not exist, and that is something we need to live with. As we all exist in a furious political climate never seen before, have the same college struggles people have been having for a while now and also live with situations that nobody has had before, having that day and time when real life kicks in would be too easy. So it’s our job to play our hand and play it damn well. It's our job to figure out where the safety net is and where it isn’t.
Nobody wrote a handbook for life, and nobody is going to start, so instead of stressing out about it, we have to do something about it. Fail on your terms. Hit life first, before it hits you. Whether that be taking a risk of your own design or just not sitting your dorm room like normal. Or better yet, maybe you are in a relationship or have feelings for someone and you have no clue if it's love, or a crush or what it is. Well, sit down and figure it out.
Don’t be stagnant, nobody knows when real life is going to set in, so it's better to be prepared for when it does than to still be pruning.