April Showers #RealTears
As many of us undergraduate students know, April is countdown time. The last few weeks of April are spent preparing for the immediate and distant future.
If you are a freshman, you are finishing up your first year in college. You should be so proud of yourself and all you’ve accomplished. If you are a sophomore, you are rising up in the ranks. Two years in and only two years left then you’re out the game. If you are a junior, you are securing those last few popping internships and setting yourself up for success outside of the classroom. And lastly my seniors. You are graduating! Congratulations! You have accomplished something major and something few are able to do.
College is tough. Any undergraduate or recent grad will tell you how hard it is to get through these 4 or so years. Life happens, you change as your worldview is expanded, heartbreak may occur, and the pressure of success is heavy. But you made it.
Even though every school year brings its own set of unique challenges and triumphs, April proves to be predictable. Every year towards the end of this month we are asking ourselves two questions: 1). Have we accomplished all that we have set out to do? 2). Have we set ourselves up for a bright tomorrow?
Our 365 days are broken up into two semesters. The year starts in August and January becomes our redemption period and then April is our judgement day.
Have we redeemed ourselves from the bad habits, missed assignments, drunk nights, and other struggles of first semester? Have we already given up on our commitment to not procrastinate, remove toxic friends, and apply for those scholarships? Have we secured an internship for the summer or are we going abroad doing research with a top university or organization?
April is stressful as all these questions are swarming our minds. I know when they say April showers they are talking about rain, but for us undergraduate students, April showers are our tears, real tears we shed as we reflect on the school year and plan for the road ahead.
At the end of the year, it is easy to dwell on all that we did not accomplish during the school year. It is so easy to do that. I am guilty of this myself. No matter how much I accomplish, the weight of what I did not accomplish burdens my shoulders and hangs my head.
But what I am pushing myself and you to do is to not wallow in the should haves, could haves, would haves. Instead, we should use April as a time for glorious, positive reflection.
In a couple of weeks you are turning in your senior thesis that you poured so much into and now you’ve added your unique perspective to the great body of knowledge in your discipline, you just survived a whole year being away from home for the first time, you decided what career path you want to take and are finally secure in your major, you landed your first ever internship (yes, paid!), you made friends that you now lovingly call family, you are going to graduate school or landed a job in your field, or take a gap year to travel the world, you exited your teen years and are now 20 years old and “grown,” you participated in your first march and showed the power of your voice and mind to effect change in your community and around the world. Whatever it is, you are a college student making it any way you can.
You are truly making it and that is the beauty of the journey, your journey, and the end of April.
April showers water the seeds you’ve planted all year from your hard work and dedication. So go into May and the months subsequent smelling the beautiful flowers that serve as reminders to always see the beauty in the struggle.
You got this. And you know, it is okay to cry. Some of that rain can be much-needed tears. But remember and repeat this mantra- “I love myself, I forgive myself” and move on to a better you.
About the Author
Carmen Crusoe is a JTG Contributor. She is an undergraduate student at Howard University, where she is pursuing her B.A. in Africana Studies and Political Science. She plans to attend graduate school to obtain her PhD in Africana Studies, and pursue professorship at a leading research institution of higher learning.