Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dare You To Move

Recommended listening: Dare You To Move by Switchfoot

I have little to no idea where I will be one year from now.
In 365 days I could be scurrying to class, head down, as snow whirls around me and the lake glistens in the distance. I could be living with my best friend and enjoying the comfort of having my brother just down the block. I could be a couple hours away from home, reaping the benefits of one of the best Psychology programs in the country.
In 365 days I could be strolling to class wearing a T-shirt, enjoying studying in the sun and eating by the river. I could be living with a stranger. I could be hundreds of miles away from home, reaping the benefits of a new, diverse location and impeccable double-major opportunities.
Or, I could be doing something completely different in an entirely unknown place.

It's officially second semester my senior year, and by May 1st I will be committed to the academic institution of my choosing (given that they already chose me). I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to succeed, study subjects I am passionate about, and explore and grow as a person. I am consoled by the fact that, at whichever college I select, I will have the chance to achieve.
However, the comfort is short-lived. I would be lying if I said that my anxiety about the future isn't always bubbling in the back of my mind. One primary element of my struggle to cope with the uncertainty is that fact that, not only am I unsure of what the future holds, I am unsure of who I will be when the future arrives.

What has defined me?
My home. My family. My friends. My school. My hobbies. My outlook. My past experiences.
The list goes on and on. The bottom line is that, up to this point, who I am has simply accumulated over time. I have always lived in the same town surrounded by the same people and participated in the same activites. Although there have certainly been unexpected shifts throughout my life, the other constants have helped me move forward. My fear is that, once I'm finally on my own, the sudden change to everything around me will be too much to handle.

What will define me?
Once I do get to college, all I will have is myself. The moment I fear most is when my parents have to leave my dorm room and I'm just left there -- alone. At that point in time, my identity will be all I have to hold on to. As I get settled in college, the consistancy will come from within myself as I pan out my plan. From my identity, the reality of my future will be shaped.

To my wonderful readers...
For those of you who have moved on to that next big step, what did you learn about yourself? What aspects of your identity have you held on to the most?
For those of you who are contemplating what's next, are your anxieties similar to mine? How are you going to decide?

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln


  1. You are my inspiration. I know with complete certainty that you will choose the school that is perfect for you. No matter where you go, you will do amazing things. I'm so proud to be able to call you one of my best friends.

  2. Great article Jamie! Choosing what university or college to go to can often be one of the most difficult decisions a student needs to make, but I'm confident you'll fall in love with the school you choose. Good luck!

  3. So thoughtful and interesting to read. I'm sure you'll end up doing something you love and being around the people you love, as well. Always remember: "It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

  4. I think everyone needs to experience that "alone" feeling. College teaches you about you; how to better yourself and attend to your thoughts, emotions, needs, and wants. Don't stress. High school has prepared you in more ways than you may think. Surviving "alone" is necessary to experience everything else this world has to offer. Best wishes.

  5. Let me start off by saying, no matter how far away you are, who you're with (or not), or what you're doing, you are NEVER alone. The pure joy you spread to people and your magnetic personality is going to take you far. I have total confidence that you will choose the right college for you! As Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is ‘youer’ than you." Although it may mold/shape you, where you go to school is not going to change the true Jamie. That's not to say that the idea of leaving a familiar place that you have come to know and love won't be a bit frightening. Change is difficult, but it's a part of life that is completely necessary. I'm so excited to see what the future holds for you because I know you'll succeed beautifully in anything you do! Love you!

  6. So I've finally decided that I will comment on one of your posts and I don't even know where to begin. Which ever college you decided to attend, you are going to be absolutly amazing there. You are an incredibly strong person that has more love for others than anybody else that I know. I haven't really started looking at colelges but just the idea of that already stresses me out and to think that you have are at the point where you are choosing which college is crazy. I, as well as everybody else that knows you, have full confidence that you are going to make the right choice and you will love wherever you end up going.

    Just think.... in 365 days, you won't have this stress of picking a college, you will be doing some college related activity, which will be somewhere that isn't Northbrook, and you will be having the time of your life. I love you Jamie!!

  7. Jamie,
    Loved reading this post. EVERYONE goes through the same confusion you are going through. I know I did. I can assure you that all of your options will make you SO happy.
    I definitely experienced that :alone" moment when my parents left me at UW. The door closed and I sobbed. You just pick yourself up, get out there, and meet people. Everyone feels alone the first few days.
    You're right; you really count on your identity and morals when you go off to school. You also learn a lot from everyone else you meet.
    I am super confident that you will forge a path for yourself at whatever school you choose. Any school will be lucky to have you. :)

  8. Jamie, great post! I absolutely understand how you're feeling and think that everyone experiences that anxiety to a degree. College is a big choice, and it's always possible to choose wrong or to wind up somewhere and not even be sure who you are anymore, and worst of all not have the support to deal with your confusion. But for me I think that's part of the excitement-- we have an opportunity to be who we think we really are and not be judged based on our past experiences-- our 'accumulated identity,' as you say-- in the eyes of others. I think you've got a really grounded view of yourself, and you honestly have nothing to worry about. You're brave enough to explore in college and find out who you really are when you step outside of your box, but you also have your lines and you stick to them. I'm really glad you wrote this post. It was a nice reminder that others are anxious, too.

  9. In 365 you will have the chance to touch the lives of thousands who have not yet been blessed to know you. You don't have to be nervous about only having your own sense of identity because who you are is natural and unending. It won't waver just because you're in a new place. In fact, your identity will have the chance to shine even brighter as new people are inspired by the incredible Jamie Tolmatsky :)

  10. college is different and you will change

  11. Hi Jamie! As you know, I wrote about the struggle of choosing a college as well and it's going to be a tough decision :/ I know you'll be happy and successful no matter where you end up! But of course us ending up somewhere together would be an added bonus : ] Great post as usual chica. love you!