I expected the question to come, but never realized just how daunting it would be. I had dedicated 4 years of my life to this college and now everyone wanted the answer to a question I hadn’t even thought of before they brought it up.
What are you doing after graduation?
I really wish I knew the answer to that question.
I wish I knew what kind of exciting, world-changing job I would take. And I wish I had something lined up post-graduation, just like all those people who always have an answer to that dreaded question.
I’m 21 years old and I feel like the future doesn’t exist.
I’ve never been able to think of the future.
I knew people in high school who would go on and on about their college experience, about what their future families looked like, what their dream job was.
I can’t think of a time where I had thought further than my next concert. All through high school, college was something that I had never thought of fully.
When the time came to apply to colleges, I was at a loss because I had never really thought I would even be alive to go through the process.
When I arrived for my freshman year of college, I was bombarded with questions about choosing a major, organizations to join, careers to set on my vision board.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know why I chose the majors I did. Sure journalism can cover a wide range of topics, but I had never really thought of myself as someone who could make an impact — especially when Walter Cronkite became a hero of mine.
And I hadn’t done that well in my economics course in high school — but we should probably blame that on how awful the teacher was.
But with graduation less than a year away, it seems everything revolves around those majors I chose when I was 18.
Don’t get me wrong — I love my majors and the people I’ve managed to meet through it. But it’s insane to me that a decision I made when I was 18 shaped my entire future. I don’t know if 18 year old me realized just how impactful that was. I don’t know if I really understand that now.
The future feels so intangible. And I wish I could dream of future. And I wish my imagination was wild enough to paint a perfect future for myself. But I’ve never been a future thinker and I’m beginning to accept that. And I’m beginning to take things as they come, hoping they’ll give me a sense of what is possible.
College is the beginning. And other fortune cookie answers.
People say you don’t have to have everything planned out by the time you graduate from college. But I think that’s a lie. At least for me, it is.
I’m a first-generation college student, a first-generation American, the eldest of my parents’ children, the only female and the most expensive investment my parents have made. So there is definitely some added weight to my shoulders.
And this isn’t a race to the bottom, but rather a recognition of all the people who came before me who let me reach this place. It’s all the sacrifices, big or small, that allowed me to come to this city to study.
I know, however, that if I end up moving back home after college, no one will think less of me. And I think that that’s more than many people can say.
Knowing that things don’t have to be perfect makes me feel better about my doubts and my fear. I know that, eventually, I won’t feel like a complete failure.
I don’t know if this day exists, but I know that when I no longer have a balance on my student loans, that day will make up for all the days I’ve questioned whether or not I even deserve to be at this school. (And I should probably stop comparing my future to other people’s).
I don’t know if I’ll end up being a journalist or a research economist or something completely different, but I’m trusting that my lack of future-thinking will make my possibilities, expectations and experiences endless.
So here’s to an uncertain future…
So here’s to an uncertain future, an uncertain job and uncertain experiences. I hope you’re good to me. And I hope I can make my student loan payments on time!
Are you about to close a big chapter of your life? Are you unsure of what you’re going to do next? Same. Make sure you tweet us over @Fuzzable and let us know what your feelings on this piece are!