To My Sister: How To Find Meaning After The End Of A Chapter


(Image courtesy https://watchmojo.com/video/id/12511. Image is from the Universal Pictures 1995 movie Billy Madison. Scene depicts Billy Madison played by Adam Sandler. Film produced by Robert Simonds and directed by Tamra Davis)


Society romanticizes the end of chapters. People celebrate how they overcame the challenge, crossed the finish line, or completed the task. They underscore the time spent learning and practicing the skills that enable them to finish the task at hand. The best example of this phenomenon is college graduation.



(Image of me from when I was taking college graduation pictures)

May is a bittersweet month. Across the United States, college towns are beginning their graduation festivities. Seniors don the cap and gown as they walk around campus with glitter, balloons, and sparkling wine. They go to their campus landmarks and smile at their accomplishments. They entered college as a teenager and emerged as a young adult. But, behind a smiling facade, uncertainty gnaws at them. Well, it did for me.



(Image of my family and I at my college graduation)

I was lucky enough to have a roadmap for the first twenty-one years of my life. The map suddenly became blank when I graduated college. After 1 pm on May 4, 2019, I could no longer view myself as my UCF impact. I defined myself based on the impact I made on campus. I was the student who actively participated in her courses, delivered Challah (and matzah on Passover) to Dr. Meribeth Ehasz, and stopped to say hi to everyone she knew.



(Image of me from when I was taking college graduation pictures)


King George III ponders the future in his song What Comes Next in the Lin Manuel Miranda musical Hamilton. In English history, King George III is remembered as the mad king. Consequently, his son George IV had to act as his regent. This period is known as the Regency Era and can be seen in pop culture with classic literature works like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or, more recently, the Netflix show Bridgerton.



(Image depicts the Bennet sisters from the Focus Features 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Image was from https://thewellesleynews.com/2020/10/11/revisiting-joe-wrights-pride-and-prejudice-15-years-later-what-makes-a-good-adaptation/)


(Image depicts the Kate Bridgerton née Sharma and Antony Bridgerton from the Netflix/Shondaland Show Bridgerton. Image was from https://deadline.com/2022/04/bridgerton-season-2-sets-netflix-viewing-record-english-language-series-1234994885/)


King George III sings the following in his song. You'll Be Back, "You're on your own Awesome, wow! Do you have a clue what happens now?- Lin Manuel Miranda "

King Geroge III had a point. Like the recently formed America, you are on your own and have no idea what is happening now. And that's okay. I recently wrote about some great advice I was given. Someone told me how uncertainty allows you to accomplish tasks beyond the scope of your imagination and provide guidance for future goals.

(Image depicts Jonathan Groff in Hamilton. Picture by Joan Marcus. Image was from https://www.playbill.com/article/jonathan-groff-king-of-hamilton-takes-final-bow)

When you submit your final assignment or walk across the stage, it will feel anti-climatic. You sacrificed time and energy for a piece of card stock. Don't let the fancy piece of paper mark the end of your professional or personal growth. You are on your own. Awesome, Wow! It's normal and healthy not to have a clue about what happens now. You will either possess or develop the skills needed to impact the world.




(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

People succumb to the pitfall once they leave college is the false notion that the glory years are behind them. If the average person lives to be around eighty in the United States, that means the best years of your life are from the time you are approximately eighteen to twenty-one or two. You are discounting the rest of our life. It's true; the only time you are only responsible for yourself is in college. But, amazing experiences happen at every age.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)


You might wonder, Rachel, why are you writing this piece now? Graduation is a month away, and you are not graduating from graduate school until December. You are correct, but this post is for my little sister Jackie. Jackie, I am proud of you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you.



(Image of my sister)

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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