I have been reflecting on where I am in my life as of recently, and it doesn’t seem to be a part of life that’s covered thoroughly on this site, or anywhere really.
I’m currently a college senior, and I’m beginning to go through the “So ... what am I going to do with my life?” thought process. I’m sure many of you know, it’s not the easiest thing.
The past few years I’ve coasted, pondered what I’d like to do with a degree in geography, and settled on some of the various career titles I found by searching around online: “Cartographer,” “GIS Analyst,” “Remote Sensing Analyst,” and on and on! Fortunately, I’ve bought myself a little more time as I’m going right into a graduate program at the same school I’m in now, also for geography. Though I feel that I definitely enjoy my major and find it interesting, of course there’s a little voice in the back of my head saying “Are you sure this is what you wanted? You can do anything you want to do, and if you want to change, this would be the time to do it!” Of course, this makes me nervous. Also what makes me nervous is that I can apply for twenty-plus internships and still not get one. Ouch. Rejection makes you wonder what you did wrong, how to move on, how to tweak your presentation and quest for the perfect career. It’s pretty nerve-racking knowing today that we almost have to get at least one internship before the real world—they say it’s not required ... but come on! Everyone’s jumping on the internship bandwagon and I can’t fall behind.
People say that this economy is tough for finding a job. I say while that may be partially true; I don’t fully believe it. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be in the job hunt today as opposed to five years ago. There are so many more online resources and ways to network and connect with the things you want now, such as idealist.org, wetfeet.com, and so on. I have found a few Web sites that are devoted just to job postings in my field of study. I have a willingness to relocate, and nothing holding me back after college. It’s a strange feeling, knowing that the world is my oyster. It’s liberating and at the same time terrifying. It’s intimidating right now knowing that I have to just grab the reins of my career path and go after what I want relentlessly, while right now I’m just bumbling through mindless homework.
I read career Web sites and articles giving tips on how to make the most of my senior year, how to prepare for the real world, and have a successful post-grad life. They’re helpful, but again, stress-inflicting. I worry that my education won’t teach me enough for the jobs out there, or that I’ll be overqualified for jobs. I worry that I’ll finally get that job and it’ll hit me that this was the wrong decision. I worry that I’ll have less time for my hobbies and personal health, and I won’t be on my top game.
As much as I’m worrying, I realize there are students out there feeling the same as me, if not worse! I’m grateful I know my career options out of college, for all the great sources of advice now available to me, and for the great general experience I’m having in school.
For anyone else going through this stage of their life like me, just know you’re not the only one sweating about it! Remember to consider yourself lucky to live in a country with as much opportunity as we have, the freedom to do what you want to do regardless of your background or lifestyle. As cliché as it sounds, keep going after your dreams (or figuring out what your dreams are) and you can do anything you set your mind to!