This past Friday I tossed and turned all night long. I couldn’t get the feeling of all the “lasts” out of my head. This was my third to last Friday in college EVER. This weekend was my second to last as an undergraduate. The paper I was working on could potentially be the last I ever had to write (one small triumph in a series of disappointing “lasts”).
I remember every graduation I have ever had (except, oddly enough, elementary school). In preschool I received a miniature diploma, the middle school ceremony featured three classmates making a terrifying melody of Vitamin C’s hit “Graduation,” and in high school, I remember every painstaking step of walking on our football field in heels.
Graduations are memorable, and the mother of all cap and gown days is upon us. In my last column, it seems only fitting to talk about the future. My own is almost as unclear as when I first set foot on our campus.
Saying goodbye is hard, packing up is difficult, but what seems most stressful to me is responding to the seemingly constant inquiries of “What are your plans after graduation?” Answering the question correctly is like taking the high school exit exam: a requirement and a pain in the ass.
So, what are my plans? Quite simply, I have no idea. It kills me to know that after four years of work, I can’t pinpoint where I should go or what I should do. My close friends feel the same way. Most of the time, it seems easier to predict their futures than my own.
Last week, while I sat on the couch, remote in hand, I listened to the phone conversation of one of my roommates: “Pet food is going to cost more than that. You also forgot to budget for vacations.”
Her dialogue woke me from my self-induced coma of “Jon and Kate Plus 8” reruns. She is getting married in August to a highly organized, borderline obsessive compulsive fiancé who is one of the greatest guys I know. As they planned their finances, I couldn’t help but worry that my measly bank account and I were in for a surprise after graduation. If I didn’t plan accordingly, get a job, and jump head first into the “real world,” I might end up parked on my parents’ couch a little longer than originally expected.
My priorities after graduation seem so minor in comparison to hers. While working on her senior project and planning her wedding, she is looking for a house, considering a pet, finding a job, and keeping a long-distance relationship together. Currently, all I have planned for my future is a “soul-searching” three months of summer spent perusing jobs on Craigslist, enjoying my free time and helping plan a bachelorette party for the aforementioned friend.
Unlike my other roommates and friends, she is one of the few who sort of has an idea about her future plans. Marriage aside, however, she might be as clueless as us.
As an almost graduate, I think I have the authority to finally say that it shouldn’t matter. I don’t think any of us really know where we should go, what we should do or who exactly we should be. We’re lucky if we, like my matrimony-destined friend, have the faintest idea.
My dad gave me a great piece of advice the other day. While complaining (as usual) about my inescapable “future,” he stopped me and said, “Taylor, after 51 years I still don’t know what I want to do. You just have to try it all out.”
And so I think I will. No more wasted time worrying about the big, bad, ugly “future.” As far as I’m concerned, if I want to go be an artist, a chemist, a bum or a professional bowler, no one is stopping me but myself. By having a taste of everything, maybe I’ll find I’m one of the lucky ones – someone who gets to figure out what she really wants to do with her life before it’s gone.
Taylor Moore is a journalism senior and a current events columnist for the Mustang Daily.