Tonight was a late night at work so I could chat with a group of student leaders about the things we do in my office and all the ways we try to support students on campus. Great group. Great energy. And we ended up having a really great conversation about how we can help students be successful in college and in the world beyond.

As we were wrapping up, one girl asked how to help students who might be struggling but aren’t reaching out for help because they don’t want to admit that college is not turning out the way they thought it would be. And my response was this.

College is hard.

Hell, life is hard.

And everyone struggles at some point. There are always things that challenge us. There will always be obstacles and issues and stumbling blocks. But so often, all we get to see from others is the good moments. What we see is the highlight reel. Those are the moments people post on Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat.

What we need to start sharing and talking about all the moments outside the highlight reel, because that’s where real life happens. The highlight reel is great and fun. It’s filled with the moments that make us feel good. But it’s those in-between moments that are most important because they’re the moments where we’re challenged, the moments where we learn and grow.

I’m certainly guilty of sharing a majority of highlight reel moments on my social media. For a lot of folks it’s the default. You’re so excited for those moments that it’s natural to want to shout them from the rooftops. But if there is one thing this blog and some of my personal writing projects have been good for (my memoir-in-progress and my growing pile of journals and personal essays), it’s diving into a lot of my in-between moments and, quite frankly, some of the most dark and difficult moments of my life. And when I take a step back and look at my life as a whole, it really is those struggles that shaped who I am and who I want to be.

Because nothing that is really worth it is ever easy.

So get comfortable with your struggles. Own your mistakes. And show us more of your in-between moments. Embrace all those things that didn’t make your highlight reel, because that’s where the real magic happens.

Here’s just one of my MANY in-between moments.

This is the last time we attempted to take a Christmas card photo (note how little Henry is, because this was taken THREE YEARS AGO!) Let’s just say everyone’s patience was running thin before Electra pulled too hard on her collar and started hyperventilating.

Good times.

These ended up being “Happy New Year” cards that barely arrived in people’s mailboxes before Valentine’s Day.

Christmas card fail. It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last. And you know what? I’ve made peace with it. And there’s a whole lot more where that came from:-)

So what about you? What are some of the moments that didn’t make your highlight reel?

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