Being a young woman in college feels like such an in-between stage of exploration and realization, where I'm trying my best to finagle my own identity and perception of the world. As a graduating senior, I am forced to face, what I call, the moral dilemma of the modern woman, of trying to balance relationships/familial values all while pursuing a career. To clarify, a modern woman does necessarily mean a woman who has children and is working, but someone who is pursuing their personal fulfillment on their own timeline. And although society has made incredible strides in women's rights and roles in society, there seems to be an internal pressure for women that is not quite talked about. So I'm here to start a conversation, as young women who are on the brink of entering the "grown-up" world and is, quite frankly, a tad terrified.
I've been lucky enough to be around enough supportive people to never question or compromise my potential. I've studied abroad, transferred schools, been in a long distance relationship, and have been at least 12 hours from home these past four years. I feel like a pretty strong and independent woman. For graduate school, I plan to pursue a clinical doctorate and Ph.D. in occupational therapy at The Ohio State University, which will take me around 5 years to complete. I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity, yet I feel as if I have to put other parts of my life on "hold" for my education.
Being from Connecticut and attending school in Mississippi, the idea of getting married right after college is still a bit taboo to me. Yet, as I am graduating it seems that so many people around me are getting engaged during their junior and senior year. Sure, getting married young sounds appealing to me (with a boyfriend of almost six years), but it is not realistic for us financially or educationally to start a family any time soon. By the time I even start my career I will be around 27, which really pushes everything else back. I don't feel guilty for pursuing higher education, in fact, I am so grateful for the opportunity and will absolutely make the most of it. But deep down, it is a bit unsettling that my "timelines" (educational, biological, relational) don't really match up. And I'm sure motherhood will be a whole new set of struggles with balancing a career and family life when that time comes. I feel like I have so much to give to my future family, but also so much to give to society in a career I am passionate about. Where's the balance on that scale?
Again, I don't have the answers, just some questions to start the conversation.