I saw a tweet today that said:
"I graduate in 4 days. What the heck am I supposed to do with my life??"
Ahhh, the sweet words of a stressed out high school senior. We're we ever so young? Just kidding. that was me last year. but more along the lines of "I graduate in four days and I'm having a panic attack send help immediately I don't want to grow up I don't want to be an adult SOS"
And here I am a year later to update you all, that being an adult isn't so bad. welcome! the real world is great. theres a mini fridge over there. A year out of high school and I have learned so much. I've learned its easiest to wear a fake engagement ring while walking around provo. You fit in better. And you get hit on less. I've learned a lot about heartbreak, (the bachelorette) and politics (memes) I still haven't learned how to parallel park, but thats for next years blog post. I want to share with you guys the most important thing i've learned since graduating high school.
Creating a life you want to live.
(new drinking game: take a non alcoholic shot every time I say ^ that one.)
this concept took me awhile to learn. Lets back up.
You cannot escape the judgement of the Internet. You just can't. It's like one big cafeteria table full of mean girls.
I've had my fair share of Internet drama. I know that. You know that. It's usually pretty light stuff, like arguments about Harry styles new haircut. Nothing too intense. (Are we going to talk about that though? His haircut?? It's gorgeous???)
For the most part, social media is a happy place. Full of peanut butter baby remixes and hotline bling references and nice nice nice people. But of course, every once in awhile ill come across some mean comments.
I can laugh things off pretty easily. (i actually printed out "YOU'LL NEVER BE ALEXIS REN" and framed it) But there was this one particular comment really got me thinking.
This sweet, angsty teenage girl, really had a problem with me. She seemed like an 'okay' girl. One who was afraid to eat gluten but not afraid to throw hands at a club, do you get my vibe? Anyways, she said to me:
"Wow Indy I can't wait to graduate and not go to college like you :) your parents must be so proud"
And like, wait, thats SOOOOO nice right??? Wrong. I read it over 10 times and realized home girl was tryna roast. (the smiley faces threw me off okay)
I'm a sensitive little soul and this hurt my feelings for like 10 minutes. I was pretty sad. Like not sad enough to write poetry. but pretty sad.
Then I started thinking like a rational human being and my feelings changed from sad to MAD. Like Beyoncé - lemonade - smashing car windows with baseball bats - mad. Why do people still think that you will only be successful if you go to college? Why is that still a thing? It's not the first time I've heard silly comments like that and it's time we lay it out on the table and address how completely STUPID that is.
The end of May is such an exciting time for everyone, especially seniors about to graduate. I remember it all too well. I think I got FOUR Facebook posts about me from my mom. Crazy stats. All eyes seemed to be on me and every last relative or neighbor was asking me what my plans for after graduation were.
I had no idea!
And talking to some of my friends graduating this year, I hear it all the time. It's scary! They're scared. You think you need to have your life figured out by the time you're handed your diploma and you don't.
School is so important, don't get me wrong. It really is. But we need to stop with the mentality that you're a failure if you don't go to school. School in general just puts so much pressure on kids. I remember sitting at graduation, annoyed because everyone speaking at the ceremony was a "perfect" student. Oh, I was for SURE jealous! They were everything I wanted to be! And that was their "right." they got the 4.0, the good ACT score, they were the top 10% of their class. They deserved to speak at graduation. But what about the other 90%? Where was the speaker who struggled in school? The speaker who could relate to everyone else? Who didn't get straight A's? Who wasn't on student council? Were they still "valuable"? I hated the idea that there were people sitting around me, comparing themselves to the speakers on stage, who seemed destined for success. I hated thinking that there were kids around me who thought that how well they did in High School would determine their success later in life.
You can probably guess, school was not my jam. Me and the education system were like two lovers in a dysfunctional relationship. I was down to learn about conspiracy theories for days and you couldn't keep my mouth shut when we debated OJ Simpson's case in my history class, but in the end, school and I just really needed to break up. For real. A three month break wasn't gonna cut it this time. I needed to date around, see what else the world had to offer.
So when all my friends were all filling out college applications, I was researching music festival lineups and checking out airbnb apartments in Paris.
I decided to take a year off before going to college. Luckily my parents are cool and were very supportive of whatever I wanted to do. But I remember feeling so embarrassed, looking at Instagram and seeing all of my friends at their first day of University, and moving into their new dorms. Going to church, or running into friends and them asking "are you going to school?" And feeling like a LOSER because I wasn't. I felt like my life hadn't changed at all and it drove me crazy. Everyone around me was doing great things, having big moments. My friends younger than me were just starting their senior year, kids my age were starting college and my friends older than me were getting wifed up. meanwhile I still hadn't unpacked from a vacation I took in 2011. My life was so pathetic. I just sat in my room and played celine dion and folded laundry all day. I started turning into... dare I say it.. a mom. I was making grilled cheese for the neighbor hood kids?! I was cutting the crusts off?! I was buying fake fruit for the living room decor? Something needed to change.
So I finally decided that I would get a big girl job at a call center, and enroll at UVU for the next semester. Because I felt like I HAD to.
About a week later, one of my best friends was in a car accident and was put in a coma. She was on life support, and shouldn't have lived through it. Maddi's accident completely put things into perspective for me. It was then, that I realized how fragile and precious life is and how it really is too short to waste any time. Life was too short to waste time in a class you don't want to take. Or a job you aren't interested in. Or in a toxic relationship. Or watching a boring netflix series. So I changed my life.
I was done wasting my time. I declined the job offer at Doterra, I deferred my enrollment and I started doing things I LOVED. I sat down and wrote a list of the life I wanted. I crossed out "matte black g wagon, and "have drakes babies" and focused on a few realistic goals.
I wanted a life that I didn't need a vacation from. I wanted a job I enjoyed working. I wanted to be a professional videographer And I wanted to travel/ see the world.
Those were my goals, and I thought that those were reasonable desires so I set out to make them happen.
I ended up finding a job at a private preschool right by my house. The hours were GREAT and I got to hang out with three year olds every day and eat goldfish and graham crackers for lunch. I was in heaven. Find a job I loved: Check.
It was also around this time that my videography really took off. Something that started as a hobby turned into a business, seemingly overnight, and by January I was booking weddings and events all across the country. It was my dream! I was 18 years old and already had my dream job. Six months later, and I have started doing videography full time. FULL TIME! It's so crazy to me. I'm so young and sometimes I feel so incapable and under accomplished, and completely overwhelmed! But I can't even imagine where I would be if I didn't just take the jump and tackle my goals head on. I didn't see the point in waiting. I didn't see the point in wasting my time and money on textbooks and classes when I could be spending time and money on camera equipment and gaining experience. And that's just me! That's just my personal opinion. So I took out a loan, sold my soul for some HELLA expensive camera equipment and learned as I went. Become a professional videographer: CHECK (in progress)
I also worked really hard so I could travel. I never traveled too far growing up, and the last time I had been on an airplane before my senior year, was when I was in sixth grade. I had never even been in an UBER. I was a true american disgrace. I wanted to go places. I wanted to see things. Personally, I would rather be outside exploring the world, than in a classroom learning about it. So I saved up from a couple weddings I had filmed and I went to Hawaii for two weeks all on my own and with the help of my little hawaiian babe Kristi, I laid on the beach while all my friends were back in Utah studying for finals. This was the life I wanted. TRAVEL THE WORLD: check. (always in progress. who wants to go to nepal??)
Im finally in a place where I am really happy with where my life is at and whats to come. I'm finally at a place where I can focus on other goals, like "matte black g wagon" and "have drakes babies." And who knows if i will ever go to school. maybe I will, and maybe I'll love it! All I know is, I don't NEED it to be successful and I definitely don't need it to be happy.
And let me say it one more time for the people in the back: SCHOOL IS IMPORTANT! I envy those with the motivation and desire to go to school and I wish I had it. I simply just want to emphasize how you don't have to feel like a failure if you choose another path. Because that's how I felt, and I've learned how silly that is. I don't want anyone else to feel that way.
We have been trained to think that we have to live life a certain way. We go to school. Find a hobby. Participate in activities. Graduate. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. Have a family. It's a plan, that's already set up for us. An expectation. And I just wish I could grab all your cute little senior faces sitting at graduation with wide eyes and shake you and tell you that YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! There are no rules to follow. There are no instructions!
How freaking EXCITING IS THAT!! To realize that you don't have to do things a certain way? You don't HAVE to work at a call center just because everyone else is doing it. You don't have to have white sheets from urban outfitters and Polaroid pictures on your walls just because it's the cool thing to do. You don't have to go on a mission just because your older brother did. You don't have to get married just because all your friends are. And in my case, you don't necessarily need to go to college to be successful. Those things are so great and so exciting and exactly the things that some people "want." But don't feel like you have to follow the crowd, you feel me?
My thoughts are everywhere and this probably isn't making any sense. But my point is, it wasn't until I realized the power I had, and the control over my future that I held, that I finally started creating the life that I wanted.
So, my beautiful, talented, amazing friends. Please realize this for yourselves! Write a book! Dictate a small country! Run a marathon! Audition for a play! Do whatever you've been day dreaming about. Start doing the things you love. Start creating the life you want. Because life is too short to do anything else.