Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

What’s your major? Do you really think pursuing a career in such an unstable field is a good idea? What do you mean you don’t have your life completely figured out… you are graduating college next year? You know you won’t make any money in that field, right? You don’t plan on attending graduate school, wow you poor unfortunate soul.

Ok Ursula, take a seat. On any given day I’m assailed with at least fifty similar questions and I’m not the only one. I get it, the pace of life is faster today than it was twenty years ago; believe me, nobody needs to be reminded about how competitive it is to get a job and make money these days.  What I don’t understand is why I am expected to have everything figured out before I turn 22?

The pressure that society, our parents, our peers, and anyone with a pulse and an opinion places on millennials to have it all figured out is crippling. There are some days where I would literally rather throw myself under a moving train than talk to relatives interested in my future. I sit in my classes and feel like I’m suffocating.

I watch my classmates work themselves into frenzies over internships, securing field placements, and job interviews for companies they don’t really want to work for. It’s like we are all drowning, lungs slowly filling with water and the rest of the world is standing above us screaming learn to swim.

Well, you know what? No f*cking thank you. Instead of becoming a victim of stress and anxiety, I am going to take my time to figure things out. I do not have a five year plan. I don’t even have a five month plan to be honest – and there’s nothing wrong with that. These are supposed to be the best years of our lives, the selfish years, so why are we letting some stiff from career services tell us how to live?

Figuring out who I am as a person has been the most valuable lesson I took away from my college experience. Discovering things you never could have dreamed are in your heart and gently letting go of things not meant for you are more important than resume workshops and mock interviews. When was the last time you took a class that genuinely interested you instead of one required for graduation? When was the last time you did something simply because it gave you a sense of fulfillment?

Take a trip, go on an adventure. Change your major, four times like I did, if it brings you peace. There is nothing wrong with not being sure of what you want to dedicate the remainder of your life to doing. The worst thing you can do for yourself is study a subject that is of no interest to you, spend a walloping amount of money on a degree you don’t care about, and dedicate the rest of your days to a company you don’t like, doing a job you don’t enjoy. And all because someone advised you it is the right thing to do in today’s economy.  

Who needs that?

Stop listening to people who pressure you to make the biggest decisions of your life before you can legally order a drink at a bar. Leave the nervous breakdowns and crushing anxiety to someone else. Life is too short to become a corporate drone because someone told you too. Whatever idiot said it wasn’t okay to be a little bit lost has no hope himself of ever being found. Let yourself try new things, and do things that genuinely feed your soul.

So move to a new city. Change your name. Cut your hair. Pick a new major.  Kiss the girl. Be fearless, even when you are afraid. Speak loudly – even if your voice shakes. Flirt with new ideas and see the world. You are not broken because you chose a different path than everyone around you.

There is nothing wrong with you for not knowing where you’ll be next year. Wander. Truly be selfish in these years and you’ll be a better a person for it down the road. When people dig into you about settling down and getting you sh*t together just remind them that not all those who wander are lost. TC mark

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