This is something that almost every college student struggles with because it is not a matter we want to speak up about. It's frustrating, discouraging, and also embarrassing. There is an overwhelming amount of pressure at an early age to choose your designated career path for life. Maybe it's just me, but my 17/18-year-old self had many different wants and expectations than my 21, almost graduated self. It's time we stop allowing ourselves to drown in the what if's and how come's and we start taking back the control we once had over our futures.
It seems as if throughout our college years we lost that "control". We were once encouraged to chase our dreams and that we can be whatever it is we want to be. However, I didn't realize there was always a catch to those statements. That catch being, go ahead and chase your dreams; however, if you choose to change your mind ever, then the story changes.
We spend our college years so focused in on one thing that we begin to lose track of what really matters. We work so hard to stay focused, stay on task, complete our requirements for our major, and stick to our pre-drawn path that leads us to our "dream" job. Flexibility is not encouraged. Exploring other options is not encouraged. The focus all falls to what outcome will provide you with the most success post-graduation, but whatever happened to happiness.
Dreams changes, career goals change, your major changes, etc. Change is all around us in college, but no one seems to talk about it. We would rather choose to put up a front instead of having those real conversations. Nobody wants to admit that deep down they know these choices are not for them. Nobody wants to admit that their original plan failed them. Nobody wants to admit that after graduation day we have no clue what is coming next.
I'm included in this subset of students. I'm not sure what comes next for me. My plans have changed tremendously. The hardest part of that change wasn't coming to terms with it myself, but I struggled with feeling as if I couldn't share what I was going through. College, especially senior year is so incredibly stressful for us young adults. Life plans are included in this stress. Feeling like I couldn't share these struggles and confusions because it was against society's "norm".
What is normal though? Is knowing and sticking true to what you want normal? Is changing your mind as you discover more about yourself normal? Isn't it all normal? Yes, it is. It is important to know you are not alone pondering the idea of what comes next. While it may seem that all of your friends have it figured and you're the only one entering graduation day with a lingering question mark hovering over you. You are not alone.
College is stressful enough. The best thing you can do is be true to yourself. There is no need to have a "put together" persona 24/7 because that's not reality. We college students know this, so why don't we embrace it? Why is there such an emphasis on "fake it till you make it"? Society would rather us put on a facade for our entire adult life instead of sharing our struggles and coming together.
As graduation day approaches, it is okay to not have your next move figured out. It is okay to still be figuring it all out. Because believe me, you're not the only one.
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