I spent my first 3 years of college in a career limbo. As a Communication student, I enjoyed a lengthy, comfortable spell of indecisiveness. I worked as an event planner, social media marketer, academic researcher, outreach advocate, a desk receptionist, and I even got a certificate in teaching yoga therapy. I didn’t climb any ladders of seniority. No job really flowed into the next. In my last semester of college, as I scrolled through job applications requesting 4+ years of experience, I realized something terrifying. Maybe I should have just stuck with one thing.
Every semester, my advisor would have students write down the title of our dream job and we would plot out our path for how we were going to get there. The big problem was, my answer and path seemed to change every semester.
“What’s your plan for after you graduate? A Communication degree? What are you going to do with that?” I never really had a good (or at least, precise) answer.
“What are your goals? Where are you going? Why are you going there? How do you plan to get there?” Suddenly, these question became a lot more serious…and it freaked me out!
But I’m not here to pitch the Millennial Dilemma to you. “It’s not fair…I should be able to explore all of my interests…I never stuck with anything and now I’m being punished for it. I’m being forced into the big, bad world and I’m not ready. You’re smothering my creativity!!” Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.
I’m here to tell you something: You are ready.
You’d be shocked to learn how many seniors have no idea where they’ll be in 6 months. Most graduates won’t even work in the field they trained four years to be in. That can be intimidating to learn, but you may not be giving yourself enough credit. It’s not about knowing what you want to do after you graduate. It’s about who you want to be…Not a career title, but as a person. Each class you took, internship you accepted, job you gritted your teeth through; you were there for a reason. What was it?
I joined Texas A&M as an uncertain communication major who had a crush on being barefoot and in the woods. My freshman year, my love for the outdoors led me to take an Intro to Planet Earth science course. I fell in love, and as I learned more about the environment, the more I wanted others to understand and experience the same things I did. I joined a company as a social media marketer and event planner, where I promoted physical activity and helped host huge color runs. I was getting people outdoors and seeing our runners happy made me happy. I wanted to preserve this feeling and the beautiful venues we worked at.
But hosting races really wasn’t for me. I discovered the geography department, where I learned how to map and make projections for issues pertaining to environmental sustainability and accessibility. My growing love for the environment turned into a springboard for exploration.
When I felt like I had a better understanding of the things I loved, I stood in front of huge audiences at the university to talk about them, as an outreach advocate for sustainability.
After learning the stories of the people I met and worked with, I wanted to learn the best way to connect with them. I became a yoga teacher. It was here that I gained one of my most powerful and intimate tools to help our planet, learning how to get students in touch with both the planet and themselves.
Apart, none of my jobs were really relevant to the other. And today, graduating in 4 months, I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a career. But 3 years at university has taught me what I love and now I know how to take care of it.
Here’s the secret. When you love something, you’ll develop a passion. You will inevitably learn ways to nurture that passion and it will grow. Sometimes, it happens in weird ways. What was your springboard? Whether you love people, plants, animals, the environment or the universe, you know a lot about it now…more than you may think. You’re going to find a way to continue taking care of it.
I promise you’re ready.