Let's be real for a second, you guys. If you've graduated in the recent past, then you know that the first few years out of college can be...well, tough. We've established this already, remember? The "real world" isn't everything it's cracked up to be, and I'd be willing to bet it didn't take you long to figure that out. Sure, college could be overwhelming and even downright stressful at times. (Thank God real life doesn't come with homework.) But in reality, school is child's play compared to this complicated thing we call adulthood. And when you find yourself completely immersed in the beginning stages, your life starts to look an awful like that mediocre coming-to-age rom-com starring none other than Alexis Bledel (because who else would play you in the story of your life?).

A few weeks ago, I sat down to construct a lighthearted blog post about my childhood hopes and dreams, but half an hour into writing, the words that I found staring back at me had formed into something else entirely. There I was, frenetically hammering out the details of my current career woes and the struggles I was facing as a post-grad. But instead of feeling even the smallest weight lifted off of my shoulders, putting my thoughts down "on paper" only served to confuse and frustrate me. I closed my laptop expecting to abandon the entry altogether, much less publish it for the world to read.

That is, until the creators of That First Year asked me to contribute as a guest writer. If you haven't heard of their website, go and check it out immediately. It's full of tips, tricks, and tidbits of wisdom from a handful of wonderful women who have been there, learning to endure the sinking feeling that seeps in once the excitement of the graduation party has died down, and only a dreadful "what now?" remains. Reading about the experiences of those in similar situations helped me survive my first year out of college, and for that reason, I jumped at the chance to share my own.

And so, after a short break from blogging, I decided to revisit the mangled maze of uninterrupted thought I had jotted down a week or two before. After all, if even one person could relate to the challenges I was going through, it had to be worth finally confronting and sorting through the real insecurities and lingering doubt behind my steady stream of consciousness. Hours of editing and a few realizations later, I submitted my personal essay, which you can find in its entirety here.

If the lovely ladies of That First Year hadn't reached out to me when they did, I probably wouldn't have bothered going back to that unfinished blog post in my draft list. And the small yet eye-opening revelations hidden in that mess of words might still be lost on me. It's funny how some opportunities arise just when we need them most.

P.S. My best friend (and beautiful wordsmith) Kristen wrote this article for their blog. It's all sorts of amazing!