Don’t Compare Your Third Chapter to Someone Else’s Seventh

You are told time and time again that you are not alone in your confusion of what the future holds. You are told that all college students are meandering around, everybody is lost and nobody knows what they are going to do with their lives. I have been surrounded by much of the opposite throughout my collegiette career. My best friend knew she wanted to be a theatre teacher, and now, three months out of college, she is doing just that. Another close roommate knew she wanted to teach math, and she is continuing her education in order to pursue this.

I have had a somewhat clear outlook: news journalism turned to teaching which went to magazine writing. When I think about the days to follow my graduation, though, I have a hard time picturing the publication I will end up writing for. Will I do freelance writing? Or, will broadcasting become my passion? My future is out-of-focus. Everywhere I look seems to hold an enticing opportunity.

If you are feeling like the bumbling fool that college students are typically made out to be, you can stop the pity party. My pity party is over, and that is because I realized that the future is not set. For a free spirit like mine, this is refreshing. Free spirits, undeclared undergrads, and the like: Don’t stress. College graduation really is just the beginning.

There are many ways to view the lives of those who seek degrees that “guarantee” work. A teaching major will be a teacher, an engineering major will be an engineer, someone who is pre-med or pre-law is working for and dreaming of their related field. What a nice cushion, right? They don’t have to worry further than the task at hand: preparing for that career. Those of us who get lost in the different, unique interests that put us in this bubble of confusion also worry about life stressors that the latter do, but we also have that constant “But where will I go next?” weighing in the back of our minds. We are forced to try new things in order to figure out what it is we enjoy doing so much that we can do it for the rest of our lives, or a large portion of it.

I’m choosing to see this positively. I have dipped my feet in many various professions. I have discovered what it is I love about marketing and what it is I love more about journalism. I have performed and sang for crowds of people and posed in front of a camera for commercials. Yeah, it has made me somewhat confused versus checked off prospective jobs, but it has also opened doors for me. I am not limited; I have many talents and I get to choose which one I’d like to make money off of.

Your murky future career outlook is not because of a lack of talents. Rather, it is the result of many different outlets for a specific talent. Many job opportunities out there do not require an exact skill set such physicians or accountants do. I have heard many of my peers say that earning a degree is pointless if it does not guarantee work in the specific field studied. As much as hearing this can sting, keep in mind that degrees within the Humanities, Fine Arts, and so many more would mean a lot of wasted time is going on. Derogatory statements that only make you question your brains and talent are not only uncalled for, but they are untrue.  

It is up to you to make your own unique discoveries on what you will be glad to wake up at 6 AM for and what you would gladly call in sick for because the thought of going into work makes us you to your stomach. I cherish the stories I have, and while marking off what it is I don’t like on a list can be challenging; it’s more of an investigatory adventure. It is fun.

If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing with your post-grad career yet, you can live a life of variety. This does not mean you are non-committal. My therapist once told me that, as a person who suffers a great deal from depression, a wise life commitment to try new things is essential for my well-being. Those of us with personalities that suffer more from boredom than the average person need to living something new, often. Pick a major that allows an open future and change career paths throughout it. Or, pick a major that interests you now and if you don’t end up using it directly, I’m sure the experience and education was worthwhile.

Maybe you read slower than other people, or maybe you like to dissect every chapter of your life. Just because someone is on Chapter Seven of theirs doesn’t mean you need to be on Chapter Seven, too. Chapter Three is where you need to be. Take your time and enjoy what you have, and daydream about what you get to do and where you get to go next.