It’s getting closer and closer to graduation and I’m getting more and more apprehensive. I am ending my fourth year of college and am still unsure of what to pursue. I feel like I should know by now; you should know what you’re planning to do by the time your college graduation is three weeks away. It’s hard to apply to programs and jobs when you don’t know what to apply for.
I’ve interviewed several professionals during my later years of college, hoping their stories and advice would help me figure things out. It’s funny that the most helpful answers have been the ones with the most unclear future and next steps. We seem to be taught all through schooling that we will find that one thing that we are meant to do for the rest of our lives. That everyone has a special talent or skill that will land them their perfect dream job. Well, my new-found advice is that this is not true. Yes, there are those people that know what they want to do from day one or figure it out through some awesome experience or moment of realization. For the most part, we find our way over time. Most of the people I talked to started in a way different place than where they ended up.
In your career, sometimes you have to start smaller and somewhere different than you once expected; but that’s part of finding your way. And sometimes you won’t find that ‘perfect job’ that you just love and think about all the time. Sometimes your career is not that perfect thing in your life. For some people, it’s their family, volunteering, a hobby; it could be so many things and your career could be supporting what you truly care about in life. Of course it is necessary to love what you are doing, or at least like your job. Otherwise a person could be very unhappy.
If it is hard to focus in on your talents and skills (because not all of us are going to cure cancer, release a hit album, unveil a master painting, or score the most points in football) try thinking about the little things that seem easy or normal to you. Ask your friends or family something special about you or a skill they admire in you. Your talents might not be loud and bright; instead they might be humble and natural. For instance, I play the trumpet but I wouldn’t say I could make a living from it, but I am a great listener, I easily empathize with others and help them help themselves, and I remain calm and my normal self under stressful circumstances. These are great talents and skills that often go unrecognized when I should put them in the spotlight.
Figuring out your life, what you are good at and what you value and care about, doesn’t happen for everyone in the same way. Don’t put yourself down for not having everything figured out by a certain date. People are constantly changing and adapting. There are things you may not know about yourself for a long time; you might find you have a talent in writing poetry when you enter your 60’s. You never know. Just reflect on how God made you the perfect you and what special talents and skills He gave you. You’ll help people and change the world. You just have to look at it from the right perspective. Be excited for what's to come; they say the journey is better than the destination so here's to the future!
Good luck as you constantly discover something new about yourself,