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Why I Chose to Travel Post-Grad and “finding myself” in Europe

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

At the start of my senior year, I decided that I wanted to take a gap year after I graduate in Spring 2022 (which is weeks away!!). I have been excited about this decision for the past year and look forward to taking a much-needed and well-deserved break. My reasoning behind a gap year was not because I am unsure of what I want to do in my future. In reality, I know exactly what I want to do and when I want to do it. I want to be an elementary school counselor after graduating with a master’s degree in school counseling and mental health.

Even though I have found my path, I am not ready to take that road just yet. I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to rush my education to get to a career. I don’t want to rush and then be done and regret not taking my time. I don’t want to find myself post-grad school graduation wishing I traveled more or spent more time on new experiences with new people. I believe my 20s are the time to explore all the opportunities life has to offer.

I want to note that I am not shaming others (at all) for starting their career or going straight to grad school. I think that takes a lot of dedication and perseverance, but that is their path, not mine. I will admit that seeing my peers post about their official and definitive post-grad plans is a little hard. They are getting into their dream grad schools and dream careers, and I don’t have that. I will, but just a year from now. Grad school and a future career will always be there, so I want to make some selfish choices and figure out what I want to do with my life.

I am extremely motivated to become an elementary school counselor and motivated to go to grad school (love that academic validation). I love working with and helping children. I am also motivated to broaden my life experiences, which for me, means traveling.

I do have one definitive plan. I am backpacking through Europe this summer with one of my oldest and closest friends. I am beyond exciting to explore different cultures and experience first-hand new people, places, and food. I am going to nine different countries, starting in Spain and ending in Greece. Not to put too much pressure on these travel plans, but I do expect to learn a lot and maybe change a little. I am hoping I come out with a new mindset. Not really.

But as the comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco, once said, “they graduate, and they go backpacking through Europe and stay at hostels like they’re broke. They go find themselves.”

I wanted to share my post-grad plans with everyone because I want you to know that it is okay to take a break. It is also okay to not be sure what you want to do with your life, even after graduating with a degree. Taking a break does not make you lazy or unmotivated. You are listening to what you need in the moment, and that is awesome!

Maya Graham

Stonehill '22

Maya is currently a senior at Stonehill College. She is majoring in psychology and minoring in educational studies. She hopes to work with kids after graduating as a child psychologist. While she loves to write, she also loves to play volleyball. When she's on campus she enjoys being with her friends and when she goes home she enjoys being with her dogs, Shiloh and Millie.
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