Three or more years ago many of us stepped foot into a new place without knowing a single person who surrounded us. We made a lot of friends, and we probably even made a few forever friends, as in friends who will last a lifetime. We made memories that will make us laugh for many years to come and we’ve shared in experiences that have taught us more and more about who we are, and how we fit into this world.
But still for some of us, when the question arises: “So what are your plans after college?” We completely shut down. One pleasant family dinner conversation turns into your worst nightmare and suddenly feels like a game of "20 Questions." “Do you think you’ll stay in the area, or are you willing to travel?” My personal favorite as a senior music major is: “What kinds of jobs can you apply for when you’re out?” When I hear these kinds of questions I panic because the truth is I still don’t know.
I come from a family that believes in the structure. You graduate high school, and you go directly to college. Then when you graduate, you get out and work. Maybe your family was like that too. Personally for me as a teen, I was okay with that. My family never had to push me to go to college. I liked learning, and I wanted to go.
Even still there were so many uncertainties that scared me. I was worried about choosing the right school, the right major, and in the long term the right career. In general, I was worried about choosing the right path. I wanted to choose the path that in the end made me feel like I was the competent, successful adult that everyone wanted me to be (including myself).
I always thought college was the answer to everything. I thought that college would make the switch go on that said, “I know what I’m supposed to do with my life.” And as I went through college, I waited to feel that certainty. I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and still, with my senior year quickly approaching, I can say that I am still living mostly with uncertainty.
There will always be people who know exactly what they want to do. There will always be people who seem like they have it all figured out. That’s great. But it’s easy to fall into the habit of comparing yourself to somebody who seems to have it all figured out if you don’t. If your not one of those people who knows what they want to do, even as a senior in college, know that there is nothing wrong with you. Even you, who is filled with knowledge up to their fingertips doesn't have to have it all figured out. If you are anything like me, you have spent hours and hours trying to plan for the future and every time all it makes you feel is scared. If you are a senior and you are uncertain, It does not make you any less smart, nor does it make you any less of a person.
While I learned so much academically in college, the experiences that I am most grateful for are the ones that have taught me who I am. And who am I? I am a constantly changing, imperfect human being who works at her own rate, and I am trying my best to figure my life out as it comes.
I can honestly say that at this time next year, I have no clue where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. But I am learning to be okay with uncertainty.