#Adulting: STILL Trusting The Process, by Brianne Hoglin, Lipscomb Track Alumni

It’s been a year since Brianne graduated and first shared with us a year ago about #Adulting.  Her conclusion after her first year out of college?…

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About a year ago I sat in Ezell chapel listening to a panel of women describe their own transitions out of college and into the “real world.” I sat with anticipation for my own next steps; with the anxiousness that comes with being on the verge of something new.

I remember the things I was most curious about that evening – mostly practical things like how to find an apartment or how to budget for groceries. I was curious about the logistics. The how… the steps I needed to take to “get there.” I wanted someone to tell me how to #adult. I was looking for steps to achieve an end on an evening telling me to focus on the process.

I wanted someone to teach me – basically as if I were taking a class (Adulting 101, anybody?)

That makes sense. I was in college where the entire experience is (hopefully) centered around learning. Most of the lessons involve gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to have a successful career in your field – and in that, I felt enormously prepared. I had studied hard, spent the hours and slowly built up the knowledge necessary for my post-graduation endeavors. And since I have graduated and moved into the ‘real world,’ what I have struggled with most has had nothing to do with my job or research.

What has been hardest to adjust to hasn’t been the ‘career’ stuff – because my college education prepared me for that. The experiences which have challenged me most are those which required the skills I didn’t realize I had been at Lipscomb to also learn:

  • Learning how to make friends – without taking notes.

 

  • Learning what my values are and how to live into them – without taking a test on them.

 

  • Learning confidence in my decision-making and resilience in circumstances – without a textbook.

 

As ridiculous as it might seem to study my friendships built at Lipscomb or what my decision-making process looked like, those are the notes I found myself wishing for as I moved to a new city and began this next chapter. I was grasping at memories of how friendships developed because I found myself prepared by my education for highly specific skills such as giving lectures on intricate cell signaling – but amateur on how to build a community from scratch.

 

There’s no textbook or class which prepares you for interacting and making decisions in the real world – because adulting isn’t a test you can pass, it’s a process you continue to develop in. And while you may no longer attend classes after graduation, you definitely don’t stop learning.

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It has been almost a year since I was a student at Lipscomb, and while my experience there was certainly a time of highly concentrated learning, there have been many weeks where my ‘adult’ life has taught me lessons in amounts which resemble trying to drink from a fire hose.

And yes, I did learn about how to find an apartment, pay rent, budgeting for groceries and all of those good logistics. But the more valuable lessons on “adulting” have really been about what my values are and what it means to stick to them, about taking risks, and about giving myself grace.

 

I have learned that no amount of money or accomplishment will satisfy your heart the way that living into your values and your purpose will. And it takes enormous courage to make choices which reflect your values over what the world tells you is valuable. But when you live within your values and your purpose you don’t need the world’s approval; because God keeps you perfectly filled and overflowing in the work you love.

 

“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” {Psalm 37:4}

 

I have learned that you must take risks and that calculating risk sometimes mean you have merely calculated to the point of knowing you are taking a risk – not that you have any sort of prediction of how it will go. This forces us into discomfort.  You won’t continue to grow as soon as you become comfortable, so how long you wait before making yourself uncomfortable again directly correlates with the speed of your growth.

 

“Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end” {Ecclesiastes 11:6}

 

I have also learned the habit of giving grace, reminding myself often that the relationships, trust, and belonging I developed in my Lipscomb community weren’t built in a day. They took the entire time I was there and were filled with countless moments of intentionality and vulnerability. I have to give myself grace when I go through one first impression after another, grace when I hesitate to open up to someone new and more grace as I stumble through making friends like it’s my first day of kindergarten. Because in the same way that I could have never written a research manuscript on my first day as a freshman biology major at Lipscomb, I can’t expect to be an instant pro at making friends as an adult in the real world.

 

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I’ve heard people say that “life is a classroom,” and I think that becomes even more apparent the more removed you become from an actual classroom. Because the learning doesn’t stop – it just requires more intentional reflection for the lessons to become clear.

When I went back to read the thoughts I’d had last year (for reference click here), it was fitting that the women’s spiritual formation event was called “Adulting: Trust The Process,” because in my year of experience so far trying to “adult,” I am definitely STILL trusting the process, and learning what that trust looks like.

 

While I may want adulthood to consist of steps leading to a definitive end, I have learned that ‘being an adult’ isn’t something I can “achieve” but a process to engage in whole-heartedly.

 

There will be no grade and no diploma – but plenty of lessons. And I know I will never stop needing to trust the process.

 

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Brianne is a Lipscomb alumnus and former student-athlete now living in Denver, CO. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology doing research at the University of Denver.

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To read last year’s post by Brianne, and to learn from what the #Adulting panel had to share,  click here.

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