Nomads. Stuck in the Mud

As senior year dawns on me, so does the reality that my most recent form of distraction is coming to an end.

I had never been sure college was the right choice. I remember sitting in my high school advisors office, pleading with her to convince my parents that I should take a gap year. Six months and countless arguments about my future (and student debt) later, and my parents had somehow won the battle.

Part of my submission to school was undeniably because I would be staying near familiar friends (and boyfriend), a fact I would have refuted at the time and couldn’t regret more today. The other part of it was because I was afraid if I chose to be independent I might fail, another major source of regret. Alas, I began my four-year trek through college at Ohio State.

Now my Facebook feed is dripping with friends getting full-time job offers and most of my conversations end in questions like “so do you see yourself working there?” and “well, do you think you could get a job there?” All the while I’m sent back to those arguments between my 16-year-old self and my parents. Maybe I should have just put my foot down, I think.

The closer I get to what is supposed to be the apex of my youth, the finish line of a 17 year footrace, the dotting of the I’s and the crossing of my T’s, the {insert another cliché about graduating here}, I don’t feel much different than I did while sitting in my high school advising office.

Granted, I am different. I’ve learned, worked and explored a great deal, but I still can’t seem to draw a feasible conclusion to this thing we call school.

I texted my sister hoping that maybe someone older and wiser could offer sound advice. I tried to explain how mind boggling it is to not have any real plan while friends are accepting jobs and deciding where they’ll be living in seven months.

“Some people are settlers,” she said, “some people are wanderers.”

“You’re a bit of a nomad. And that’s okay.”

Is it really that simple? Am I just a nomad, bound to infinite wanderings on a whim?

I would agree that I am a nomad of mind. I can’t commit to putting myself in one box and I’ve never really associated with the American dream.

…but I also worry too much about failing to truly give it up. I want to live and work a creative, smart, forward-moving, passionate, giving, adventurous and beautiful life. The issue is that sort of life doesn’t always have a clear path

and that can be scary.

I always imaged college to be a freeing experience. While I am thankful for every moment I’ve had here, I have found college is still a very stressful and confining experience for me. The necessity to fit certain roles and meet expected deadlines, beyond homework, has me feeling the same inability to match up I’ve always felt. I know that competition and expectancies are a part of life and I can accept that. My problem isn’t that I can’t match up but more so that I don’t want to. I never felt the need to check a box simply because its was put there for the checking.

I’m not saying that everyone getting jobs and making plans are just mindless robots. I’m not quite that pessimistic. It’s quite the opposite. The people in my major are a source of great inspiration for me. My struggle is that I have yet to decide exactly which of my interests I’m ready to grow the most passionate about.

I love magazine writing and photography and working in PR. I also love biking and beer and crafting but that doesn’t mean I’m going to race bicycles for a living. So why should loving writing mean I am going to write for a living?

OK. Actually, I’d be overjoyed to write for a living. but thats not the point here.

It all comes down to the simple fact that I am not sure where I want to be in seven months or what I am ready for. Admitting that as a senior in college feels like a failure and that makes me mad. It makes me physically angry. Almost no one I know was exactly where they wanted to be at the age of 21, so why do I feel like such a failure for being in the same spot?

Sure most of us don’t expect the perfect job after graduation but what if we don’t expect a job at all?

So how does this all fit together, aside from me fitting directly between a large rock and an even larger hard space? I guess I wonder if I am paying the price for ignoring myself five years ago. I’m not sure if anyone will ever think it’s the right time for me to take that gap year (or the 20-something post grad equivalent) but I’m beginning to think I may never be satisfied as the nomad who doesn’t move.

I don’t think my feelings are particularly unique. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve read about hiding from the future and the hard realities of growing up. In fact, I am reminded of something this cool chick said about making a T-shirt that says “I graduated college and I’m just trying to enjoy the free time, I’ll let you know when I’ve figured out the rest.” Perhaps I need one that says “No, I don’t know what I’m doing after graduation. Deal with it.”

(If you read that post, the summary of Coco’s post probably isn’t all that different from where I’m going with this…)

Up until now, I’ve just turned in projects and gone to class because its what I had to. I never really objected because I love to learn. Because I love to learn, school has, more or less, received the majority of my attention the last four years.

Now that it’s coming to an end, I need to find something else to focus on.

And

Since I’m not ready to make any about getting a job, I’ve decided that my focus is to move. To be a nomad who goes where she wants when she wants. I might not get a job right away. I might plan a trip. I might get a new internship. I might move. I might get a pug before I get a job, and that’s okay.

It's okay buddy, I'm a little confused too. Courtesy of Eric. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s okay buddy, I’m a little confused too. Courtesy of Eric. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

…ok well my mom might not think the pug part is okay, but she can deal. Maybe thats the T-shirt I need.

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