By Gracie Stackhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
As graduating college seniors, we can all agree that there is one looming question constantly hanging over our heads.
Most of us probably hear it on a daily basis, and quite frankly it’s terrifying and intimidating.
Like a loaded gun pointed straight at us, they ask:
“So what are you doing after you graduate? Where are you going to work?”
Honestly, this question makes me feel like I’m a part of an Eminem song; my palms are sweaty and I’m pretty sure that if I get asked it one more time I will definitely throw up my lunch.
This question usually comes from an adult, eager to hear how we are going to contribute to the workforce. Curious to see if we will excel as young adults in the career field of our choice.
I, for one, have no idea what I want to do career-wise.
When I answer their question with an air of uncertainty, nine times out of ten I am met with a stern, disappointed look. A look that tells me I have somehow failed in my duties to go to school in four years, balancing classes while singlehandedly narrowing down what exactly it is I want to do for the rest of my life. How am I expected to jump head first into a job?
This scenario makes me feel as if I’m a failure, a waste of education.
Have I failed the expectations of my parents, of society? Am I a wash up for not knowing what to do with my life, even after 4 years of college?
My answer? Absolutely not.
We live in a society that puts pressure on us to have our lives in order by a very young age. I remember being in second grade and having career day; teachers were asking six-year-olds to decide what they wanted to be when they grow up.
Half of the class wanted to be president, while the other half wanted to be astronauts. We are told from the time we learn how to read and write that obtaining a successful career is the only end goal. More than 16 years of schooling is aimed at filing students and placing them into jobs that society deems fit.
Four years ago, I was 17 years old and terrified to live on my own, feeling like I had been pushed out of the nest before I was ready to fly. Now 21, I was terrified of leaving behind my college lifestyle until just a few months ago.
Now, I’m beyond excited.
Instead of jumping into an uncertain career, I’m determined to pave my own path. After graduation, I will save up and travel to different countries and document my new experiences, carrying little other than my backpack and camera.
I want to take complete advantage of the fact that I’m single, young and don’t have anything to hold me back from hopping on a plane or bus. I want to discover everything that is out there. I’m comfortable breaking the mold of society; it doesn’t make me a failure or a waste of college.
Others may mistake my plans as a lack of ambition or laziness. But I have ambitions, I have goals and I will work diligently to accomplish them.
I refuse to jump into a career when I’m not really sure what I want to work towards for the rest of my life. I dread the thought of hating my job and I fear getting stuck. My plans allow me to sort through all of my options and utilize my production and photography skills to keep doing what I love: creating images and videos.
My advice to you other soon-to-be graduates, recent graduates and early twenty-somethings: take that cooking class, paint those portraits and travel until you’re broke.
Do whatever it is that your heart is truly aching for. Live your life for you. Don’t cave into the pressure that says you must go along with what everyone else is doing. Especially if you’re not sure you want that.
Take that risk, and make sure everyone who doubted you sees you fly.