There Are Only 285 Days Left Until I Graduate: What’s the Plan?

Career Life Personal

It’s officially August friends! I can’t believe I’m about to say what I’m about to say but… I miss school! I miss being free at the most random times of day and going wherever whenever I please and being surrounded by friends and people who don’t care whether you’re wearing sweats or business casual. This 9-5 life is harder than I imagined, and sitting at a desk for the majority of the day can be tiring. That isn’t to say I don’t love my current internship; it’s great and I love the firm and the people! I’m beyond grateful that out of all the firms in the city I had the opportunity to be at this one in particular, and I’m actually really enjoying my time there, but the creative soul within me doesn’t seem to agree with the schedule set by corporate America. Either that, or I’m just not ready to be an adult yet (big yikes!). Whatever it is, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career prospects and where I’ll be in five years, and it’s been stressful.

College is supposed to help you figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, but for me it’s actually just confused me even more. As my internship is coming to an end and I’m getting ready to start my last year as an undergraduate student at NYU, I realize that I don’t have anything figured out! I’ve had three years to explore different options and decide on a career I want to pursue after getting my diploma, but the truth is I’ve opened up way too many doors for my indecisive self and it terrifies me knowing I have to pick one. I’ve had the opportunity to try so many different things, and while I’ve learned that I don’t enjoy some, I’ve fallen in love with many more. From fitness to entrepreneurship to education and even non-profit work, my passions are scattered, but my obligations reside elsewhere.

I’ll get more into what that means in a bit, but first if you read about my finance internship (take a look if you haven’t here!) you’re probably wondering why my career conundrum isn’t solved yet. It seems like a safe bet, and it’s actually a challenging career with lots of space for growth, but if you know me you know I am the worst at making decisions, especially when it comes to what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. As naive as it sounds, I feel as if I have the whole world in my hands, and it scares me knowing I can’t have it all at once. I have so many interests and a very wide skill set, but unfortunately for me they do not coincide. Instead they stretch me in opposite directions, and they all offer different things

On one hand I’d like to be able to financially support myself and my family and not have to ever worry about whether or not I have enough money for rent or basic necessities, but on the other I want to explore my entrepreneurial interests and expand on my artistic abilities. Maybe it’s pessimistic of me to think both routes as mutually exclusive, but when all you’ve aspired for your whole life is financial stability and you’ve been conditioned to associate that with working at a desk 40 hours a week Monday through Friday, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. It’s not that I’m not enjoying this amazing experience I’ve been granted, I’m grateful for it and I’ve learned so much and made many great friends in such a little amount of time, but when the work day is done or when Friday hits I am too drained to pursue any of my hobbies and sometimes even meet with friends.

I do realize I may sound naive and even privileged, and unfortunately a lot of people don’t even have the liberty of going through this thought process because they don’t have an option. Self-realization through a career is a luxury, and for a lot of people the only thing that matters is getting a paycheck to put a roof over their head and food on the table. I get just how lucky I am to even be worrying about this in the first place, but since I’m being honest I have to say that that just adds more stress for me. Knowing that I have the freedom to make this choice when others don’t just makes it an even more significant decision on my part, and I’m stuck between stability and self-fulfillment.

On the other hand, I know all too well that in life sacrifices have to be made. Who’s to say that after completing a couple of years of working at a desk I won’t have the opportunity to be able to make money doing what I love? I have to build myself up financially through a secure job before I’m able to venture out and explore my other passions even more. Not only that, but I’d also benefit from gaining real work and life experiences as well as building connections all over. But also, how do I know I won’t find comfort in security and grow too stubborn to leave? How do I know I won’t grow too tired to continue chasing my dreams, or even worse, how do I know I won’t lose my ambition and the intentions I had? It scares me knowing I have all this time in the world, and that I don’t have full control of the context in which my plans fall within.

I’m a chronic over-thinker, and if you’ve read all the way down to this part then you didn’t even need me to tell you that, but it just means that I care a lot. I care about living a fulfilling life and I care about making a positive impact on my communities. A good friend told me that we think too much about what we want to do or who we want to be as if we’ll be stuck with the first thing we choose, when in reality we have our whole lives and an endless amount of opportunities to grow and transform, and that stuck with me. I’ll only be 22 when I graduate and have so many more years to live and careers to explore, but for some reason I feel rushed to have it all figured out. I feel like there’s a timeline and I’m scrambling to meet it, when in fact there is no such thing. My interests are on such a wide spectrum that I fear I’ll never be able to settle, but knowing how I am maybe that’s good. All I know is that, no matter what I end up doing, it’ll be for a good reason.

 

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1 thought on “There Are Only 285 Days Left Until I Graduate: What’s the Plan?”

  1. Just stumbled upon your blog and it looks great.

    As for this post in particular, I have to say—it felt like you were reading my mind.

    The internship I’m at now is my first taste of the standard M-F 9-6 corporate lifestyle, and I feel like every adult MUST be deluded. There is no way I could do this for the rest of my life, let alone for more than a few years.

    And I truly have nothing but good things to say about my company, my co-workers, and my work. I just miss having the freedom to pursue exactly what I want, when I want, and like you—I have so many interests, and a deep rooted self-belief that I can succeed in any pursuit.

    I know you mention being a chronic over-thinker and suffering from general indecisiveness, but I have to say that I’m long past that point.

    I am going through the motions of still working hard at my current role, and seeking out other traditional recruiting opportunities, just to have a solid backup plan.

    Otherwise, the bulk of my efforts is directed towards trying to build streams of income to craft my own financial security. I’m letting my entrepreneurial mindset run loose, and working with friends to craft ideas for some sort of venture.

    Not sure if you’ve had the same experience, but most people do not seem to be receptive to these thoughts. Whether they be older people deep into their successful careers (which makes sense that they’d reject the notion that their entire lives have been a waste), or even other students at NYU, most people can’t seem to escape the brainwashing of the traditional career path.

    Glad to know there are other sane people out there. Or insane.

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