People have been asking me even more frequently now that I am entering my senior year for my bachelor’s degree, “What are you going to do after graduation?”
I usually answer “I don’t know” when my head is actually thinking “Oh, I know it too well but I know you would think I am crazy and not being realistic, so instead of explaining it, let’s just pretend I have no idea.”
I have been really stressed lately, with so much going on. I am sure every student has been through some sort of mental breakdown once in a while, whether it’s a soon due paper or an exam. For me, the stress comes in waves that sometimes push me to the edge where I want to jump off and finish it all. Somedays I am extremely optimistic and some days I find myself curled up in bed weeping. Shit is getting real.
My peers are applying for jobs and master studies a year ahead, some have even finished the final year project early… I always say I am not going into workplace right after graduation, I always say I do not wish to rush things, I trust the timing of my life… And now I am standing here, freaking out because of all these expectations for me after I obtain this degree. Sometimes I really doubt if I am wrong and should I just cope with all these expectations and standards because this is what everyone else is going through. When doubts appear, I travel.
I travel to escape life, to take a break, but this does not mean I am giving up. I am taking all the time I need, to expose myself to different cultures and values until I have the strength required to face life again. Here is what I realized:
You do not have to find a well-paid job, you do not have to pay rent for the next 40 years, you do not have to wear that suit and sit in an office from 9-5 every day. I promise you one day you will figure out why you made it through 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree with the thought of dropping out almost every single day. But for now, apply that internship at United Nations, go send out applications for travel journalism, write that personal statement for master degree, do things that make you feel most alive.
People ask me how I see myself after graduation or in years. I see myself being happy, very likely doing things the society disapproves of. I see myself doing so much like internships in the travel journalism industry, teaching English in a small town in the Czech Republic, working at a local women rights center in India, traveling across countries and staying at each place for a certain period of time before leaving again. There are so many possibilities and I am just going to go with my heart at all times.
You might be laughing at how unrealistic or impractical my visions are. I have come across people who do not think this would work long-term because they believe people need to settle down someday.
I know only one thing – If I do not do it now, I will have regrets for sure. I have to admit that I am one of the luckiest one, to receive proper education opportunities, to travel, to find passions that make me feel alive. So if you are one of the lucky one, remember you only live once.