“I never worry about the future, it comes soon enough.”
Despite how scared I was before jumping out of a plane on my first-ever skydiving experience, nothing can match the sheer terror that comes along with realizing that I’m a college senior in my final months of my undergraduate education. Soon I will graduate and move on to bigger and better things; but what those things are is far beyond my own knowledge.
Western culture and particularly that of the United States likes to enforce a regimented set of steps for success, steps that many abide by because they are unaware that they have any other choice in the process of obtaining the lifestyle that they want. A house with a mortgage payment that comes along with it. A newer model of a luxury car. A family and a 9-5 job. A suffocating pile of student debt that resulted from a degree that promised a better life.
All of these hoops that we jump through are set, and very few people stop jumping and take a step back to evaluate if the next hoop is truly going to bring them happiness, or if it just another scheme to push up through life the same way as the person in front of us. College is a good thing; it can bring a lot of opportunities and graduate school afterward can open even more doors. But college is not the only answer, and having a certain degree doesn’t cut one off from pursuing a completely different field to eventually going into. James Franco is currently a Ph.D candidate for comparative literature at Yale. Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean!) has two degrees in mechanical engineering. Before John Legend became famous for his magical voice, he worked at Boston Consulting Group. The list goes on, and it’s not just celebrities that are allowed to have major career and life changes. Anyone can.
I constantly get asked the same question, over and over again,
“So what are you going to do after you graduate?”
Every time it is uttered from someone’s lips, a wave of nausea hits my body and my cortisol levels shoot through the roof as I try to remember what lie I told the last person who asked me. What do I say now?
“I’m taking a year off”
“I’m applying for graduate schools”
“I’m researching graduate schools to apply to”
“I’m working in a lab”
“I’m doing an internship at a “brewery ;)”
The list goes on and on, but none of the responses are technically truthful. Typically I just pick which one comes to mind first and roll with it, as the person asking usually doesn’t care on a deep level and wont ask me to elaborate too much. Even if the conversation quickly progresses onward, I still am shaken from being reminded that graduation is just around the corner and right now, I still have no solid plan for what I am doing with the next year(s) of my life. One thing I find a lot of comfort in is knowing that I am not alone; many of my peers are unsettled with their near future plans, and are living day-to-day figuring out their next move just like I am, resisting the immense pressure to have it all figured out by the time our diplomas arrive in the mail.
It is stressful being a confused fish in a sea of others that seem to be on a streamlined path, but I try my best to remember that not having it all figured out is a blessing; my mind and eyes are open to opportunities that would maybe slip right by me if my sight was focused on something else. Every single day we have the power to go out and change our lives; sometimes in a small way, and sometimes in a way bigger than we could ever believe. Having a change of mind at any age is never a bad thing; some of the most successful people had major career changes late in life
This upcoming year, my plan is to spend 9 months teaching English in Spain and then spend the rest of my time traveling around Europe and possibly parts of North Africa. After that, who knows? I’m also working on a book right now that I hope to have completely finished and published by May, but more to come on that in later posts 🙂
So, friends, I hope maybe if you’re struggling to know what your next move is, that you’ve found some comfort in my words. And if you’re one of the people who do have it all figured out and know exactly what’s next, good for you! That is amazing, just understand that not everyone is as steadfast on their path to success like you may be.
It’s easy to get caught up worrying about the future, but what’s more important is enjoying the present. The future will come soon enough, enjoy what is here now instead. You can’t control the current of the river, but you can jump in, swim, and see where it takes you.
Now for some of my favorite YouTube inspirations, watch and enjoy if you’re looking for a little motivation this Monday evening.