College finds you at a transformative moment in your life. Your 20s will break you, and then heal you and then break you all over again. There is a widely held notion that this time in your life marks your last bit of fun before entering into the “real world.’ With this comes the unspoken pressure to spend your 20s happy and buoyant. This of course does not accurately reflect the reality of navigating this time in your life. Human beings simply cannot blossom in such conditions.
In order to grow you need to lose and let go. Sometimes growing pains look like rejection from the job you always wanted. Sometimes it looks like a mascara-stained pillow at 3 a.m.. Your 20s will leave you in a million pieces and the process of putting them back together is what actually characterizes this time in your life. So many influential individuals peaked long after their twenties because they allowed themselves to feel uncomfortable.
Steve Jobs on Failure
Failure is an overarching fear for many college students. Steve Jobs is not a stranger to failure, a matter of fact he even welcomed it with open arms. The late Apple mogul actually found an encouraging friend in failure. To him, failure served merely as a fleeting reminder of life’s fragility.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” —Steve Jobs
Jessica Simpson on Breakups
Perhaps the reason that breakups feel like the end of the world is that they are the end to a world that we shared with someone we loved. The hurt that follows a breakup has a way of making the world feel small. After her highly publicized breakup with Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson said that the only way she was able to heal was by allowing herself to hurt.
“It was hard to imagine I would ever walk down the aisle again. It was like a death in the family: You go through the mourning stage, then the rebellion, and then all of a sudden you have to find life by yourself. Once you do that, you feel complete—and that’s the only time you can truly fall in love again, and give yourself over completely to another person.” —Jessica Simpson
Sophia Bush on Death
The loss of a loved one is something almost all of us will experience at least once in our life. Along with death, the only other guarantee about life is that it goes on. Grief is love with nowhere to go. Death leaves us with a void and while that emptiness does not simply go away, Sophia Bush says that it can be the gateway to a whole new world. After losing her ex-boyfriend, Sophia found that her void has become a host for new life and perspective.
“There were days I felt like my body had been turned inside out. I felt like my heart was on the outside of my body and everyone who came near me was stabbing me. And the crazy thing is that since Dan died, the lessons have come like Mack trucks. There is no next time. There is no excuse to wait a day to do what you want to do and to change the way that you want to change.”—-Sophia Bush
Emma Stone on Mental Illness
Long-term goals can be especially daunting when for some, getting out of bed is the hardest part. The demands of college do not accommodate the anxiety and depression that so many students are ridden with. Emma Stone suffers from anxiety and has come to learn that this heightened sensitivity is actually a very special piece of human equipment. It has the potential to be a very empowering tool if recognized.
“What I would tell kids going through anxiety, which I have and can relate to, is that you’re so normal. Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives, and maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there’s nothing wrong with you. To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way is actually part of what makes you amazing… I wouldn’t trade it for the world, even when there are really hard times. Don’t ever feel like you’re a weirdo for it because we’re all weirdos.” —Emma Stone
Taylor Swift on Being Alone
The accepted idea of someone in their 20`s almost always includes said person in some sort of company, whether that be a crowd of people at a rooftop bar, a sexy date on a night out, or friends gathered in a living room on a Friday night. This completely discounts the power that comes with being comfortable by yourself. Taylor Swift reminds us that being alone is not the same thing as being lonely and that it can actually be quite romantic.
“Being alone is not the same as being lonely,” the singer said. “I like to do things that glorify being alone. I buy a candle that smells pretty, turn down the lights and make a playlist of low-key songs. If you don’t act like you’ve been hit by the plague when you’re alone on a Friday night and just see it as a chance to have fun by yourself, it’s not a bad day.” —Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga on Imposter Syndrome
Success is not comfortable. Your twenties will be filled with moments where you feel inadequate or out of place. This is imposter syndrome and it is a form of self-sabotage, the weapon of choice for many twenty-year-olds. An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives. Even Lady Gaga isn’t immune to these feelings.
“I still sometimes feel like a loser kid in high school and I just have to pick myself up and tell myself that I’m a superstar every morning so that I can get through this day and be for my fans what they need for me to be.” —Lady Gaga
Lupita Nyong’o on Insecurity
Low self-esteem is very on-brand for college students. We are prone to using the people around us as a means of measuring our self-worth. Our journey towards self-acceptance is often hindered by self-deprecation. After battling insecurity herself, Lupita Nyong’o found that beauty is not seen, it is felt.
“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned … What does sustain us … what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul … There is no shade in that beauty.” —Lupita Nyong’o