Ten years ago it was a Friday, not a Thursday, and I was graduating high school.
I had no idea what I wanted to do after college, but I had visions of being finished with school forever and wearing cute businessy clothes and working in an office. I didn’t want to be done with school because I hated it, but because I hated being “the smart one” and was ready to Become My Real Self.
If I had no clue what I wanted to do, I did know what I didn’t want to do. The list included :
- Major in English (because all you can do with that is teach)
- Teach (ESPECIALLY not high school)
- More school past my BA
Are you laughing yet? (It’s okay, I am, too)
In case you’re lost, here’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years:
- BA in English
- 2 Master’s programs
- 4 years of teaching high school
- Prepping for Ph.D applications
In the last ten years I’ve had to work through a lot of things. Everybody does, of course. I guess I’m feeling reflective right now. I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned from the last ten years.
- It is okay to be yourself. Even if that means embracing a part of yourself that some people don’t understand (Being “the nerdy one” at school frustrated me to no end. I didn’t want to be that person. Turns out I just needed to hang out with other nerds).
- You will find your people eventually. Just keep doing what you like (that’s where your people congregate).
- Keep doing what you like (I like school, okay?)
- It is okay to not opt for the sensible option (like multiple graduate degrees vs. stable corporate job)
- It is okay to change your mind about who you want to be (major change senior year FTW!).
- Travel to different countries. Meet lots of people. Try weird food (experiences like these grow your mind).
- You don’t magically “arrive.” Ever (I thought that eventually I’d get a “knows what she’s doing” stamp or something).
- You know little at 18 and less at 28.
- Most of the time, change is hard, but worth it (I HATE change. But some of my hardest decisions have been the best ones).
- I just wanted there to be ten things.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish a paper. For grad school. In English. And then grade some student assignments.