The “in Process-ness” Cocoon of Post-Graduation

I have learned a lot transitioning into the adventure our generation has dubbed “adulting.” The key for me though, has been the gradual and still extremely necessary acceptance of my “in process-ness.” What I mean is understanding the importance of giving myself the time and space in this major life transition to be a work in progress.

I believe that we are always growing and changing, just sometimes that growth happens outside of our awareness. During these pivotal moments in our lives, we become completely aware of our transition. We feel our failures and inadequacies deeply, because these are the places we are being challenged, the places we’re growing. How we learn to handle these moments and our emotions will change the rest of our lives.

Class 5 Fellow, Kelsi Stimack, celebrates her graduation from Hendrix College on campus.

Class 5 Fellow, Kelsi Stimack, celebrates her graduation from Hendrix College on campus.

For me there are so many places I have had to embrace my “in process-ness,” but the two largest have been in my personal life and at work.

One, I have found it extremely hard to be so far away from my family. I’m from Colorado originally, and most of my family lives out West. I’m on my own out here in Arkansas. Over these past two months, I have grown in my ability to handle turbulent movements on my own. When things don’t go the way I expect, or when I’m just feeling overwhelmed, I am learning to rely on myself. Two, I still have a long way to go, but I’m growing and learning to accept that I’m not yet completely self sufficient. Are any of us, really? I still call my family all the time to ask how to do things–how to cook things especially. And that’s ok.

Kelsi Stimack, Class 5 Fellow, making sales calls for her host company, Apptegy.

Kelsi Stimack, Class 5 Fellow, making sales calls for her host company, Apptegy.

As for work, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work at Apptegy as a Sales Development Representative. However, it has been an uphill battle for me to accept how much I still have to learn and grow to be successful. Any new job is hard, but part of sales is being rejected again and again. I’m beginning to understand my need to love the process, not the destination. In my job, there has never been a day when my skills aren’t challenged in a way I haven’t been exposed to before. You can’t download 10 years of education experience overnight, but when I love my “in process-ness,” I make the next call better than the last. I more easily find the motivation to keep striving for excellence, and I understand that being excellent is not being perfect.

Class 5 Fellow, Kelsi Stimack, preparing for sales conversations with  her co-worker, Casey.

Class 5 Fellow, Kelsi Stimack, preparing for sales conversations with her co-worker, Casey.

There’s a saying I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Right now, for me, I’m that caterpillar. I have a lot of growth left, but I have faith that one day, I’ll realize I’m not a caterpillar anymore. It is these moments in the darkness of my cocoon that will shape the butterfly I will become. It’s not easy. And it certainly can be painful, but these are the moments that will challenge and change us–me for the better or worse. The choice is ours.

My advice for graduates is to embrace these moments of chaos when it feels like nothing you are doing is right. Embrace the transition; it will be the hardest thing you do in this season, this transition from college student to young professional. Give yourself permission to fail. Permission to fail and try again as many times as it takes until we realize we aren’t stuck in that cocoon anymore. We’re flying just like we were always meant to.