My undergraduate college experience was very eye-opening. With me being disabled, college made me have to grow up fast, and learn to live independently. At first, it was not easy, but by my senior year, I got into a good rhythm.

I started making friends and doing things that surprised everyone. A small thing like using a microwave was a huge victory for me.  Once senior year hit, I had the universal question most young adults have once they leave college. What I am going to do now? I always knew graduate school was an option, but I kept talking myself out of it. Deep down I knew I was not ready.

This article will explore the life lessons I learned while waiting to go to graduate school.

“Self Reflection is key”

During my first two years out of college, I did a lot of thinking. Education was my passion, but I had no idea if I just wanted to be a teacher, or go do some of the other jobs inside of a school. The question of what do I see myself doing in 10 years? I was running through my mind at all times. Exploring my interests was how I answered that question. Making lists and creating possible dream plans made me put my future on the top of the list. Knowing how to pay for my education was also something that was on my mind a lot… but thanks to SoFi I could take that off my list and have peace of mind. I highly recommend checking them out: 

“I need to know how to be happy”

The day I graduated I told myself that my first year out of college was going to be happy for me. I achieved that goal by becoming a pageant queen. Yes, I wore the dresses, put on the make- up, and had to give the make the disability world a better place platform speech.

Being Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2017 made me become a worldly outreach person, and also it enabled me to see the world from other people’s eyes. By doing this new experience I found what I truly believed in, and how to express that to others. Also, I had a lot of fun while doing it!


“Organization is Important”

When it came to doing schoolwork in my undergraduate career I did not have a good system. Now I did get everything done on time, but keeping up with things was where I had problems. Everything had a place when it first got there but a week later it would not be in the same spot. When I started the process of applying to graduate school I quickly found out I had to be organized.

Keeping up with all the paperwork, making sure I checked emails and keeping up with due dates got very stressful at times. Creating systems taught me everything has a place and needs to go back after I use it. Also checking your systems to make sure they are working was key for me.

Sometimes I kept doing the same thing thinking it working, but yet I was still cutting it close to my due dates, Systems were fun to create for me, and planner shopping made me happy.

My Future is mine to live”

Many young adults have this issue when they get out of college. Many people in our lives want to plan our futures for us.  Family members or friends may believe they helping because they want to see us succeed, but I believe it is a path we need to find on our own.

In my case it was my parents; they knew what I was able to achieve, but they thought I was lazy because I was not acting on them. At times it got under my skin and bothered me. Once I calmed down I figured out this is my future to live, and I can get advice from others but I have to create my path.

This year I applied to graduate school, and I got into the school counseling program at my dream school. The path to get here was not easy, but I feel by the lessons I learned I ready to take this next chapter. 

Spread the love

Deja Barber is a 24-year-old blogger from North Carolina. Her favorite thing to write about is self-reflection pieces, bringing awareness to subjects, and to learn to just have fun in this crazy world.

Comments are closed.