So far, my junior year at Denison has been a trip. I’m doing online learning, logging into Zoom five days out of the week, my eyes are strained, and my sleep schedule is practically non-existent from not being able to properly allot time for myself. On top of the few big due dates I have coming up, I’ve also been forced to think about what my plan is for after college, amid a global pandemic.
I get daily emails, along with every other student, telling me about career networking opportunities suggested by the Knowlton Center, and while I appreciate them, sometimes they can be a little overwhelming. I often feel as though I’m behind, since I don’t have a fleshed-out plan of what path I would like to take upon getting my degree. Most of us have a lot more going on than just school, and now that we’re all in the middle of a pandemic, we have to deal with that too.
I know some students who are the primary caretakers of their families, some have little siblings they take care of, some are having personal mental health issues, and can’t deal with them the way they should be able to. It’s difficult to find the time to manage life at home—even while being on campus, keep up with schoolwork, and think about what we want to focus on after school. It seems almost impossible to find a perfect balance. We’re expected to know what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives after four years of being in school, and that’s a lot to ask of ourselves. It’s not easy to simply say that I’m going to utilize my degree to the fullest once I delve into the workforce.
And the truth is, I don’t really know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have ideas, sure. But I don’t have a concrete plan. I’m only 20 years old. When I get asked about what I intend to do after school, I don’t lie to make it seem like I have it all together. My response is simply, “I’m not sure yet.” I get the same reaction each time—it’s a look of confusion.
I don’t think it’s bad to be open-ended about what you want in the future. People change and grow, and so do their ideas and needs. I know what I’m doing now, and if I find something I’m truly passionate about in my last few semesters at Denison, awesome! And if I don’t, I know I will eventually.
No one has it all together.
We need to stop trying to be this perfect idea of a student, when the reality of the situation is, we’re always trying to find ourselves, as cliche as that may sound. I’m here to tell you, as a student, you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing, and you aren’t behind.