You’re moving forward whether you know it or not

This semester, I’ve been going to the Student Recreation Center a lot more than previous semesters because, as a second-semester senior, I’m not taking as many classes. It’s great. My favorite thing to do at the Rec is ride the exercise bikes. It’s not that I love biking so much as that I can do other things while I’m biking, like read a book, watch TV, or tweet about how much I hate exercising. As a student, I’ve become addicted to multitasking, even when I’m exercising.

But the funny thing about exercise bikes is that you don’t actually go anywhere, even when the machine says you’ve gone further than 20 miles. Second semester has often made me feel like I’m riding a never-ending stationary bike. I keep pedaling – doing my homework and finishing up applications and such – but I don’t think I’m moving forward. I’ve worked up a sweat, but I don’t seem further along in my journey.

This week, I had my first opportunity to pedal forward in my journey after graduation. I went to an admitted students’ day at the graduate school I’m planning to attend, and I saw it as my first step on a bike that wasn’t stationary but would actually take me forward. I had a great time at the graduate school meeting a few professors and students who will be in my program. The campus was great, and we got free food (always a plus). As I was excitedly talking to some of my future classmates, I knew I was ready to go home and pay my enrollment deposit.

So, Sunday night I pulled up the web page and saw my two options: clicking yes or no for this graduate school. And for some reason, I couldn’t hit the yes button at that moment. I just stared at the screen. I felt that by clicking that button, I was sealing my fate. Once I started my graduate degree in clinical mental health, I knew there was little chance of going back. I thought I’d been ready to get off the stationary bike, but all the sudden, I couldn’t. I felt frozen in place.

Why am I so hesitant? I like this graduate school, and I’ll be a good fit for the program. Honestly, I think the problem is that I’m scared. The future is risky. And you’re forced into it because time keeps moving forward without asking your permission. I’m realizing that even when it seems like I’m riding a stationary bike, I’m not. Life is more like riding an actual bike that’s continually moving forward, but I’m often scared to let off the brake.

Thus, the goal this week is to click the “yes” button for graduate school. I know I’m taking a risk by saying yes, but I think it’ll be worth it.


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