College vs The Real World

I heard a song today that reminded me of college. (Gimme that Girl by Joe Nichols) I use to go to Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio with my roommate and friends and we would meet all kinds of folks there, college kids from San Antonio, girls having bachelorette parties, and tons of guys from the base in San Antonio. I remember dancing to Gimme that Girl almost every night we were there. It was still fairly new.

Hearing that song made me feel very nostalgic. I realized how much I love going dancing, meeting my friends at Alkek Library with Starbucks late at night to study, walking up and down all the hills at Texas State University, and writing a million and one papers at the Einstein Bagels on campus. I miss how easy everything was, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time. Being an English major meant writing 3-4 papers every week and reading tons of books at once. It was stressful. But it was a different kind of stressful. I didn’t know the true meaning of stress until I was out on my own after I graduated.

Sure, I worked in college. My first year in college I was working 3 part time jobs and going to school full time in Tyler. Then I moved to San Marcos and didn’t work until my junior year of college. My best friend got me a job at the frozen yogurt shop she worked at in teeny little Kyle, Texas. It was an easy job and it was perfect for college. I could take my work and study during my shifts when it was slow. I thought it sucked and that it was boring at the time. Grown ups really know what they’re talking about when they say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone! And when they say youngins don’t appreciate things. But I appreciate them now.

The real world was hard on me at first. It was probably because I was expecting to graduate college and for an amazing awesome job to just fall into my lap. I thought Well hey! I have a degree so book publishing companies are going to come banging on my door looking for an English major! Ha! I’m laughing right along with you.

I moved back to the Dallas area with Ricardo several months after I graduated college and started working for my moms best friend at her pediatric speech, physical, occupational, and feeding therapy clinic. She was kind enough to start me off as Authorizations Manager (Insurance authorizations that is). And let me tell you! I have never fallen so hard on my ass before. Insurance is a beating of it’s own kind. People are not nice to you if you are handling any kind of insurance. I lasted there 3 months, and it was hell for me. I cried every day, on my lunch break, to my family, to Ricardo, on my home from work every day… It was bad. I had never been so miserable in my life. I just felt like I wasn’t doing what I was suppose to be doing and that I wasn’t doing a good job either.

After that I had several part-time jobs until I finally came to the decision to go back to school and get my alternative teaching certification. Best decision I ever made! It was a long road but I made it. Through that chapter of my life I nannied for a family friend and it was a nice experience. I watched 2 little girls over the summer, one was 3 and one was 8 months. I still think about them a lot just because I spent so much time with them.

But not all of it was great. I wrecked the car I had had since I started driving (My brakes went out on the highway). I was not planning on getting a new car until I was more stable. Financially it was rough for awhile. Ricardo and I had also gotten pregnant but I had a blighted ovum. (When the baby, for unknown reasons, stops developing early on in the pregnancy) I was so depressed for several months. How does someone at 22 years of age lose a baby? I kept thinking I did something wrong or that something was wrong with me. At first they thought it might have been a high risk pregnancy but they couldn’t find a fetus anywhere. My body was staying pregnant and for some reason it wasn’t miscarrying like it was suppose to so I had to have surgery to avoid infection. It took me a long time to come to terms with the outcome of the situation. It still makes me very sad and scared when I think of it sometimes.

I had to learn to look at like God has a plan. And maybe this was a second chance to do things in the right order. Ricardo and I got engaged 4 months later. We had been talking about marriage since we were in high school practically, this just made it feel more right I guess. We both knew what we wanted and decided to seal the deal.

That’s one of the best things that happened to me in 2014. I was asked by my best friend to spend the rest of my life with him 🙂 This made all the pain and hurt of the year seem a bit smaller in perspective.

My point is, college was awesome. All that lack of responsibility, the naps after class, the easy life was nice. I loved it! And I’m glad I got to live it for awhile. But the real world is turning out great too despite the bigger burdens. I get to be with my best friend everyday, I get to start planning ahead, I’ve found my career path and I feel confident in it, I love love love my job and all the people I work with, my family has begun to piece back together after years of conflict, I get to see them more often now that I’m back in Dallas, and I just feel blessed. I feel thankful for the way life has turned out. I feel thankful for the good experiences I’ve had and I think I’ve learned a lot from the not so great experiences. The older I get the more I realize it’s important to reflect. I like taking time every so often just to count my blessings. It makes life much more pleasant than focusing on the bad. That has been a long, hard lesson for me to learn but I’m getting there. Being in your 20’s is hard enough anyway. It’s like being a pre-teen almost. You’re between being a college party animal and being a successful, independent adult.

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