Welcoming in Uncertainty

Illustration by Rukmini Poddar, Instagram handle @rockinruksi

In the midst of the busy first month of the new year, many people, college students especially, find themselves facing the fear of uncertainty. I especially relate to this overwhelming sense due to my lack of knowledge in what I want to do with my life career-wise or how I have too many dreams that feel I need to achieve but have no idea how I will ever get there. 

Uncertainty is an old friend that everyone seems to share but it only comes knocking at our doors in waves. For many, these “waves” come at times where we feel the most change. This is oftentimes at the end of a year, when we move to new cities, or on birthdays. I recently came across an image on Instagram by the artist, Rukmini Poddar (Instagram handle @rockinruksi), in which a man is staring into a large, approaching being as he utters the sentence, “Welcome, my old friend, Uncertainty.” To me, this is a perfect depiction of how many college students feel but no one outright says it.

I am a freshman here at Ohio University, and I am constantly surrounded by people — like my boyfriend, friends, or mentors — who seem absolutely certain. They seem so set on what they want to do in life, and they appear to already have the connections to get an internship. It even seems like they are already set on what they want for lunch tomorrow! I am an indecisive person and I have been my entire life. My mom has always laughed at me because I have too many hobbies to count but now, I have no idea how to use any of those hobbies to get an actual job. Is there a major for collecting snow globes? Nope! 

However, my point is that I am constantly uncertain about a lot of things in life. I have no idea where I will end up, what my career will be, or even, what I will be eating for lunch today. But the catch is, no one else does either. I have had to be told this a lot in this first year of college, but even though I am surrounded by people who won’t switch their major, who seem like they have already found their reason for being put on this Earth, those people are just as uncertain as I am. My birthday recently passed and the entire day, the large figure named Uncertainty consumed my shadow. I tried to turn my head away from it, to block it out, but then I scrolled past that image by Rukmini Poddar on my feed and I turned around and welcomed Uncertainty with open arms. If you are uncertain about something in life right now, don’t hide from it, don’t pretend you are certain. Embrace the fact that you may not know where or what your next endeavor will bring you. Focus on things that you are certain about and go from there. Remember that no one is certain about where they’re going or their future in general for that matter. It is okay to be uncertain. In fact, it’s probably better than actually knowing where you’re going. Although it can feel beyond frightening, there is something so exciting about stepping into the unknown. Your uncertainty will lead you to somewhere brilliant — all you need to do is welcome it.