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Breaking Expectations: What comes next?

Breaking Expectations is staff writer Danielle Allsop’s firsthand experience living with mental illness.

For five years, I’ve been picturing the day where I get to walk across the stage at Taco Bell Arena, accepting my diploma, proving to myself that I could overcome anything.

That image is what has driven me to finish college, to make my family proud. But as I’ve learned, life throws you curveballs, and sometimes, that image changes.

As the semester draws to a close, I am becoming increasingly nervous for a few reasons.

First, actually walking at graduation scares the shit out of me. Thousands of people watching you for two and a half hours, noticing if you have to get up and leave.

I know myself, and I would be a wreck the entire time, worrying about having a panic attack that I would have to heavily medicate before the ceremony just to participate.

But I actually want to remember the day I’ve worked so hard for. On the other end, I’ve pictured that moment for so long in my mind that I would feel like a failure if I couldn’t do it. I want the pictures, the hugs, the happy tears, but is it worth the potential price?

Second, though I’ve been praying this day would come as fast as it could, I’m not sure I’m ready for it. What am I going to do when it’s all over? Get a job, yes. But how long will that take? I know me, and having any down time equals disaster. I’m terrified I’ll lay in bed all day, not getting out unless I have to. I don’t want that for myself, but I’m not quite strong enough to resist the grasp it has on me.

Finally, I’m afraid I’ll disappoint not only those who love me, but myself if I do have a lull between school and a

I know it’s okay to be afraid of what comes next. It’s natural after being involved with something for so long.

What I am afraid of is what won’t come now that it’s over.

Boise State has given me two gifts: an education, and the opportunity to get up in the morning, to have meaning in my life, to know that I’m worth more than accepting whatever comes my way.

How do I continue without its support?

Over these five years, I’ve learned a university education doesn’t just mean you’ve narrowed your knowledge to a specific discipline, but that you’ve grown as a person.

My confidence has grown, my communication skills have improved, my outlook on life has changed.

I’ve adopted the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I hope I’ve done that.