Now What…

I’m a planner. Ever since I can remember, the next step of my life has been planned out — I’ve always known where I wanted to go. After high school, I knew I wanted to go to college. I knew I wanted to live away from home. I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I knew I wanted to work for the school paper. Etc.

And even though I had to figure a few things out during my time in college, I had the luxury of doing so in a controlled environment. I had people there to point me in the right direction. We’ve all been guided, in one way or another, to where we are now. But now that we’re on the verge of graduating, all of that is about to change.

There are a million possibilities laid out in front of us, and now we have to choose which road to take. For someone who likes to know what the next year of my life will look like, this feels pretty terrifying. Very few things are concrete anymore; all I know is I want to be employed and preferably living in a city — that’s not really much to go off of.

I recently tried explaining this feeling to one of my colleagues. I told her that I’m not afraid of things not working out for me; rather, I’m afraid of making the best possible decision for myself because it’s hard to tell what that is anymore. Her response surprised and delighted me.

She told me that’s the fun part of growing up. You get to try out new things, and if something does’t work out, there is always another path you can take. She said I should take advantage of the fact that I no longer have to stick to an agenda. Just have fun and go with your gut, because as long as you’re working hard (which we all obviously have no problem with) things will work out. And she’s right!

UnknownSo, if you’re feeling like me right now, I hope this little nugget of insight helps calm your nerves. The world is our oyster — let’s embrace it.

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7 Responses to Now What…

  1. nikkimaroney says:

    I feel exactly the same way. Ever since we can remember we’ve known what lies ahead – we only had to figure out a few bits and pieces along the way (i.e. college, major, living situation, part-time jobs). Now it feels as if we’re about to jump off a ledge, but the crazy thing is, that’s okay. I’ve been a planner from day one as well, so the “not knowing part” of what comes next, puts me in a panic. A friend recently told me that these are not the stressful years. The stress comes once you have to provide for your family – making strategic career moves at the right time. Searching for the right path as a young individual is exciting! We may not feel that way now but once our ducks line up in a row, we’ll be able to enjoy the many adventures along the way. Thanks for sharing!

  2. pdxsx says:

    Good post, Jess. It’s true, this will be a scary time for many people about to graduate, but you’ll look back in about five years and be envious of the freedom and choices you had when you were first graduated. Enjoy your time because life is about the journey, not the destination.

  3. kalimungovan says:

    I am feeling the exact same way. The thought of not knowing where I’m going to be or what I’m going to do next gives me anxiety… I’m glad to not be the only one feeling this way. But we are young and this is our chance to explore all our options and opportunities! We have to be okay knowing that not everything will be what we expect but we have to know that if we give it our all it’ll all work out. Thanks for the post!

  4. kativanloo says:

    This definitely resonates with me. I think we all feel this way right now as we try to figure out what our next steps are. Your friend’s insight is spot on though– I think we all need to trust that even if we don’t take the path we thought we would right after college, we will still end up in a good place! Now is the time to take risks and make changes we might not get the opportunity to take later in life. I am definitely going to keep this in mind as I prep for post-college life. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I totally agree, Jessica! For once in our lives, we are truly stepping into the unknown, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. Your friend is looking at the situation in the best way, though. If we look at all of this as an adventure, then we have so many options that can lead us to different careers paths. Thank you for sharing your insight!

  6. joefschr says:

    It seems like the more the weeks have gone by this term, the more I’ve noticed this myself. Your post just officially put in writing though. I’m nervous as can be when it comes to starting life on my own and starting to make 100% of the decisions for myself, but there is a hint of excitement because like you said, we get to choose our own paths and wher we want to go. Life is your very own ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book. While with life we can’t go back pages and try and do it differently, but we can learn from the decisions and prepare for the next chapter and the next major choice in our life. This is the time where we really get to find out what kind of person we are and how we want to live our lives personally and professionally.

  7. Thanks for posting this Jessica! Your post really resonated with me, for many of us this will be our first time without the structure of school ahead of us. It is a little nerve-racking but it is also exciting. I am going to take some time this next season and enjoy being young, Europe here I come!

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