In the last couple of weeks I have googled "what to do after college" more than once. Not kidding.
Soon I will be free from education. Free, as in I am no longer required by law, by my parents, or by my own determination to get a B.A. Any education here after would be on my own free will. I like to say, almost daily, either to myself or whoever is listening, that I will probably go back to school. I think I say this because a) I am terrified to end relationships—including that with school—and b) I still don't know what I want to do, and school seems to be the obvious answer to this foreboding quest.
I have "hated" school for a long time now. It required work, time, and energy that I was sure would be better and more interestingly spent doing other things. *Said "other things" have never been discovered, hence the problem with this logic.* But as it turns out, I have become happily dependent on feedback, grades, the fear of doing poorly on a test or in a class, the relationships I build with my peers and teachers, and the general stresses of being a student.
My name is Holly, and I am a school-addict.
I have already investigated classes being taught at my local junior college come spring. Sick. I know... I think my life has been so defined by my education, that I have no semblance of an idea of who I am with out it. School is my safe place. The work world isn't. Everyone I know that has graduated states with conviction "Stay in school as long as you can. Working sucks." I figured. Does it suck because spring and summer vacation aren't just around the corner? Does it suck because bosses would prefer to point out what you are doing oh-so wrong instead of what you do well? Or, does it suck because it's hard to find what you love and then do it?
I will think I've found what I want to do, but then I realize why I don't want to do that thing, and the search continues. I've wanted to be an interior designer, a nurse, a fashion merchandiser, a screen play writer, a journalist, a makeup artist, a blogger (heeeey!), a photographer, a nutritionist/dietitian, a boutique owner, a winery owner/operator/whatever, a novelist, a personal trainer, an animal activist, a YouTuber, a stylist...I know that list is incomplete. And while I am unsure about all the aforementioned careers, the only thing I am 100% completely positive about is that I want to be passionate about my life and what I do with it.
I want a job or a career. It doesn't have to make me rich or the envy of everyone I know, but it has to make me happy. I want close relationships with my family and friends. Closeness that can't be broken by anything—calling all true blue friends! I want to give back in some way—I am not just saying this. And I want to always make time for new things and new experiences. This last one will keep me learning about the world and myself forever, even if I am not a student in the traditional sense.
I think my first step to discovering and implementing ^all that^ is to take an inventory of my life. What is necessary? What is an obligation? What can I cut ties with? What brings me joy? And what do I want to try? I won't try to figure all of that out here, because who knows, it might take years. But then again, it could take minutes. So here are a few things that come to mind (write your own. It's liberating!):
1. What is necessary? Finding a job...at this point, it probably doesn't matter what it is. Just something tolerable while figure IT out.
2. What can I cut ties with? People I don't like. I've got a few. I can also cut ties with the amount of online shopping I do (I'm talking about reducing it to only a couple hours a week. And yes, that would be an improvement).
3. What is an obligation? Cleaning, paying bills, and working out. Two of those a lame. But we all have to.
4. What brings me joy? A lot of things. Dan, working on my blog, seeing my friends, thinking about traveling, eating good food, putting together the perfect outfit, seeing my mom change into the person she was always meant to be, having a clean kitchen and living room, working out, taking pictures, my four favorite TV shows (wouldn't you like to know)—the list goes on and on.
5. What do I want to try? I want to try to cook more. Dan does it all. He's a saint. I want to try a photography class. I want to try to read a book in less than a month. I want to try to not say mean things about myself...or others. Don't judge—you know you do it. I want to try to be more patient. And finally, I want to try to be more spontaneous. Carpe Diem! It wouldn't be a blog about life after college if I didn't have "carpe diem" in it. #sorrynotsorry
To sum up where I am at, where you might be at, and where we will all be someday I have chosen a "road" analogy.
I am at the end of a long road. It had twists and turns, but generally speaking, it was a safe road with guidance along the way. This road was mapped out out and familiar, which is important when you are just a kid. The road I stand in front of has many paths stemming from it. It is less mapped out, less guided, and less safe. But it is full of opportunity and hope. Surely I will reach dead ends on this road, but in this case, those dead ends only lead to new things. It's not your typical road. In fact, it's a weird road.
It's scary to leave anything behind. A boyfriend. Your parent's house. A former friend. A job. A school. But everything ends as unfamiliar replaces knowing and new replaces old. So to my fellow graduates or anyone leaving something behind, it's time for the first step in a new direction. God speed.
Just so you know, those google searches I mentioned in the beginning were not fruitless. In fact, I suggest you type something similar into your web browser of choice. I've read about jobs that are perfect for recent grads, backpacking trips that won't break the nonexistent bank, how to get to Joshua Tree, articles with titles like "the survival guide for the petrified graduate"...and so on. But most of what I found was inspirational *tear*, and although corn-ball-ness sometimes falls on deaf ears, I think for those of us who are graduating (or in any other life-transition) need that sentimental push to find what we love but also to know that sometimes being lost and directionless is what it takes to find something great. Or, the great in ourselves. Who's the corn ball now?