I just began my final semester of college last week. Is it a bit bittersweet? Maybe. Am I ready to be done? Absolutely. Despite college allowing for a person to take naps in the middle of the day and get super wasted while using the excuse that you are a college student, I’d rather be out in the real world. The real world has a never ending list of obstacles that a person has to face. Even with the obstacles, I’m ready to move past the academic world and into the real world.
It’s tiring having to constantly be around people that don’t want to think about or plan for their future. They spend the majority of their money on shopping trips to the mall, video games, Starbucks coffee, and eating out. I’m disconnected with most of the college culture. I say this with a little hesitation because I’m partly like them in that I don’t exactly know what I want to do after I graduate college. I do, however, have a list of goals I’m aiming for and things I want to accomplish (if you’re ever in the Austin, TX area, I can show you my poster board I have it all written down on, haha). I’m sort of like the male version of Leslie Knope (from Parks & Recreation) in how I plan.
Having my ambitions and goals written down doesn’t completely help whenever I discuss my post-grad plans. Anyone that is graduating college or has graduated college in the past knows how cringing and repetitive it can be whenever people ask the dreaded questions:
So what are you going to do once you graduate college? What are your future plans?
I want to run into a hole whenever I hear the question. It’s an awkward question to ask because I’m not exactly sure how things will pan out after graduation. This happens to nearly every soon to be graduate, not because they lack direction, but because life throws obstacles that make it hard to have a set goal (especially when you’re still trying to figure that goal out). Things cost more money than you expected, you can’t move to a new city due to financial reasons, student loans need to be paid back and the dream job that you want requires a minimum of three years experience.
It makes a soon to be graduate quickly go from excited about graduation to feeling depressed. 911, help, my life starts in a few months, how do I plan it?!? Sometimes I think my job search for my first post-grad job will be a lot like the one detailed in an article on The Onion. Hopefully not!
I’m going to become a psychic, so I can see into the future and decide what I want to do for the next 50 years of my life.
I say that exact reply. People either laugh or look at me weird before saying ‘okay’ (It’s usually the latter). It’s okay though. Even though I’m constantly bombarded with the question of my future plans, I know in the end (as long as I stick to my goals and ambitions) I’ll be fine. Will my first job out of college be one I hate? Maybe. The career choices I make now do have a big impact but they aren’t set in stone permanent. Everyone has to start somewhere. Or as the characters in American Hustle would say:
Pulling from a Fast Company article, I have a list of questions I ask myself frequently (instead of the simply dreadful “What is my passion/what do I want to do with my life? question).
- What type of work leaves me feeling challenged? (in a good way)
- What keeps me up at night? What do I think about before falling asleep?
- What are my superpowers? (character & personality strengths)
- Looking back on my career 20 years from now, what do I want to say I’ve accomplished?
- What did I enjoy doing as a kid? The things things that let me lose track of time.
To quickly add another quote, when I think about my future, a Martin Luther King Jr. quote comes to mind: You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.
I’m not going to have a burnout by stressing constantly over my future plans. *cue Macaulay Culkin Home Alone freakout face* I’ll vigorously research pathways to take but I’m not going to let it completely take over my life. I’m staying open to the many possibilities available to me.
Right now I’m taking 15 hours of classes for my final semester, working an internship at a public relations agency, and writing my first novel. I’m doing good right now and soaking up as much as I can.
As Pat from Silver Linings Playbook would say: Excelsior! (ever upward). I’m keeping this as my motto as I move closer to graduating and stepping out into the world.
*Side Note: Sorry for all the Fast Company links, I’ve had a bit of an obsession with their site lately*