One of the huge complexes that I had when I was a bit younger was the amount of time that I spent in College compared to my peers. To provide context, I got into Community College in September 2001, and graduated from a 4-year institution in May 2007. So that was about 6 years vs. the standard 4-year college career.
I started out with most of my “mates and juniors” and it was all good till they started graduating one by one…some as early as 2 years before me. Then it hit me like ahh my mates have left me behind, and I’m still here dulling. It also didn’t help that I would run into folks at random events and they would ask questions like “ah ah, you haven’t graduated yet?” or “when are you graduating?” and finally when I did graduate, a couple of people definitely told me “Congratulations. It was about damn time”.
As with most other pressures in life, there was that societal aspect which contributed to the pressure of feeling like I needed to be done with school ASAP. There was always that well-meaning aunt/uncle here and there who would ask “Sooo when is Mgbeke graduating?” And in turn, my parents were always anxiously asking/commenting… “Soooo when are you graduating?”, “Is this your last semester?”, “I ran into Nkechi’s mom, and she said that Nkechi just graduated and got a job with Bill Gates”. Eeyah, I can’t blame them sha. I’m sure they must have indeed felt some type of way because their friends’ kids were graduating and going onto big things like shiny new jobs and/or advanced degrees while I seemed to be stagnant in my perpetual college student status.
I would go to events and people would ask “what do you do?” and I felt embarrassed to say that I was still in school when other people were giving more interesting responses like “I just got a job at so and so company” or “I’m getting a Masters degree in this field”. Everyone just seemed so mature and accomplished and I felt very much inadequate and insecure in my regular college kid status.
In retrospect, I don’t know why I made such a big deal about spending an extra 2 years in school. I don’t know why I didn’t just enjoy the moment as opposed to tacking on 18 credit hours most semesters and paying for summer classes because I was so pressed to be done with college. Till today I still regret not taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, and not doing more in general with my college experience because I was so focused on G-day aka Graduation day.
Well…I’ve been out of college for almost 9 years and I still ask myself: what was all this hype to rush out of school and get a degree for? Besides the perks of getting a real salary and not being a broke college student anymore, the post-college transition into the “Real world” is generally quite overrated.
To be honest, I might have thought that getting that much coveted Bachelor’s degree next to my name and graduating onto to the real world would solve everything and fix all my insecurities. But nope, cos apparently nobody told me about the next pressure which was the one about getting a “good job” compared to my peers in my industry…*sigh*
As I quickly learned, graduating from college was just a minute piece in one of the pressures in life. There are so many other “graduations” in life where other people seem to be progressing to the next stage and unfortunately, some others seem to be behind in the race. The most commonly discussed one among the young wimmens of my generation is marriage. But as I learned from finally obtaining that Bachelors degree (i.e. having one wasn’t the answer to everything), I’ve also come to realize that contrary to popular belief, graduating to the level of “Mrs” is not going to solve all your problems ‘cos there are more pressures awaiting you down the line.
- There’s the pressure to have kids. For some, as soon as you’ve said your “I dos”, the womb watchers emerge from the woodworks. Heck, I’ve been to weddings where in the speeches/prayers, comments like “we can’t wait to celebrate in 9 months” have been not-so casually thrown in.
Even if one is blessed/lucky to have a child, there is that pressure to add more to the breed. I know someone who had a child and was trying to conceive for 3+ years. And she definitely felt the pressure because a lot of her friends who had also conceived their first-born kiddies around the same time that she did, had already moved on and were well into their Baby #2s.
- And even in having kids, there’s that “I’ve had 3 girls but my husband really wants a boy” type of pressure. This definitely still exists, 2016 or not. Again, I know somebody who felt this weight on her shoulders but we praise the Good Lord, she finally bore a baby boy for her
- There’s the pressure of metamorphosing into a “yummy mummy” soon after childbirth. My people, these new moms these days are not shining teeth o with their #Teamsnapback and tinz. I’m sure some of them definitely feel that pressure to fit into their size 6 pants well ahead of schedule. They will be saying to themselves “Ah ah, if Nikky can do it, why can’t I?”. The tension dikwa very real.
Shoot I don’t blame them jare, these yummy mummies are even tensioning me with my never-had-kids self. I saw one mom of 4 wearing a croptop the other day and I said ehn? #ThatcouldbemebutItoolikepoundedyam
It truly doesn’t end…
Marriage aside, there are other graduations taking place. Your mates are buying houses, but you are still apartment living. Your mates have discovered their passions and know what they want to do with their lives, but you are still in limbo trying to figure it out. Your mates are managers and supervisors, but you are yet to supervise a cockroach. Your mates in your industry all seem to have great jobs and are making 7 figures and you’re still floundering in the same position. Sidebar: Man, Linkedin can definitely serve as a source of tension o. Some days I just be browsing profiles like wow, everyone else on Planet Earth seems to have it together with a high-flying career, 3 Masters degrees, and must be making like 7 figures with that really impressive resume. And I’m just like winging it and BS-ing on this job and wondering whether I’m underpaid.
Life is indeed a revolving cycle of pressures. It’s always one thing or the other. Ever wonder why some of our parents pressure us so much over somethings? Cos even they feel the pressure compared to their mates. Their friends’ children seem to be graduating to new levels, while their children seem to remain stagnant in the same position. But after my college experience and dealing with that pressure plus the other ones that came after it, I have learned that the best way to deal with pressure is to cook it and try not to let it consume me. Worrying about what I can’t control (if indeed I can’t control it) doesn’t help much.
No matter the specific pressures that each of us is dealing with, my prayer for us all is that all that we desire will come to us in Jesus name…but in the meantime, keep cooking those pressures and don’t let them cook you.
And that is all she said.