The transition from college to the post-grad world is without a doubt tough. We spent the past four years cheering on the football team with our closest friends, going out whenever we felt the urge to dance + reveling in the feeling of minimal responsibility. All of a sudden, it all comes to an end far earlier than we would have liked. Late night studying turns into working the night shift, research papers become bills + our roommates are replaced with our parents [+ maybe a dog ; )]. It’s a HUGE change, ++ we can feel pretty down with the idea of *leaving* so many of our favorite things. Luckily, CHAARG doesn’t have to be one of them!
Cheesy or not, some of my most memorable college experiences at The Ohio State University came from being heavily involved in OSU CHAARG. It was because of CHAARG I realized my leadership abilities, discovered my passion for writing + even ran my very first 5K [with a *vintage* CHAARG tee to commemorate it ; )]. As CHAARG guided me in understanding what it really meant to *be* Jackie, it was no surprise that my career path completely changed, like many of ours do. I had planned on becoming a physical therapist, a natural choice for an exercise science major, but I realized I wanted to be able to learn even more + be even more involved in a patient’s care as a physician assistant. Of course my *epiphany* just had to be halfway through senior year [0/10, do not recommend].
Instead of starting PT school, law school, or moving to a new city for a cool job like so many of my friends, I was moving back home with my parents. I went from the girl who seemingly had it all together to the girl who really didn’t have a clue. No longer could I run to my academic advisor to ask what classes I should be taking to make me a more competitive grad school applicant. No longer could I skip out on a study session to goof around at the ice skating rink with my roommate. No longer would I run into a girl from my small group at the library + get together for a #sweatsesh later that day. Instead, I was desperately trying [+ failing!] to find a job that may help me achieve my new goal. To make matters more challenging, my boyfriend + my best friend moved plane rides away. ++ suddenly I felt totally lost + alone. Or so I thought.
My first summer after graduation I joined VirtCHAARG — part of it was because I wasn’t ready to leave OSU CHAARG in the past + part of it was because I felt it made sense working as one of CHAARG’s first *Virtual* Assistants. At the time, VirtCHAARG was still in its early days — an experiment, if you will. After coming from OSU CHAARG, I was terrified that it wouldn’t work out, that I wouldn’t make incredible friends, that I wouldn’t feel a part of a community. Luckily, I was so, so wonderfully wrong. I spent the summer sweating + eating with my fellow Clevelanders, making memories + new friends. But much like a *summer fling*, our get togethers started to fizzle out as girls headed back to school or started a new job, myself included. Just like that I was back to that lonely square one.
That following winter, I hit another rough patch. I took a tumble on the slopes + tore my ACL, which required an intense surgery + long, painful recovery [but hey, I’m still trying to make #skiCHAARG a thing ; )]. I was devastated — I lost my job, could no longer work out + wasn’t even allowed to drive. Fortunately, CHAARG had paired me with an amazing #BoltBabe [a *pen pal* similar to what we do at CHAARGmas] at that same time. Natalie [VirtCHAARG girl + former Blogi] was somehow totally there for me through my recovery without actually being *there*. She #radiatedallthepositivevibes during times I was really feeling frustrated. She celebrated my small physical therapy victories as if I had finished a marathon + even gave me some awesome Netflix recommendations during my couch-bound days : ). Nat made me realize that VirtCHAARG does have that same close camaraderie + support I had at OSU, you just have to work a little harder for it!
Nat really inspired me to bring the Cleveland VirtCHAARG girls together during last year’s CHAARGBOOTYCAMP. I reached out to girls in the Facebook page, planned + attended a few meetups + even did a #sweatsesh with a CHAARG girl I had never met before [she + I actually had brunch a just few weeks ago, too!]. Just like at Ohio State, I had found my *thing*. VirtCHAARG challenged me, it gave me support + love, ++ it inspired me to want to always be the best version of myself. ++ it still does!
CHAARG will always be here for you, in any capacity that you need. It can be your workout motivation, your recipe inspiration [seriously, try the guac!], + even your best friend. You’re not alone. There are literally hundreds of CHAARG girls across the nation going through the exact same thing. So reach out to that girl who just introduced herself in the Facebook page. Plan an amazing meetup for girls in your city. Invite a friend to tackle that #CHAARGBOOTYCAMP workout with you. While the VirtCHAARG community may not be the crew you meet at OSU’s RPAC every Friday at 8 AM, I promise you that we will always be there to sweat with you, support you + love you just the same. You just have to put yourself out there. We would love to hear your experience transitioning from CHAARG chapter to VirtCHAARG + college to post-grad life — share your story with us on Insta + tag @CHAARG! ++ if you ever feel totally lost, alone + confused like I did, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always here for you : )
++ Jackie [@jackie_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG Cleveland