The fate of being a senior is currently a part of my top five worst things that has ever happened to me.
When I was a senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to be in college. When I was a freshman in college, I couldn’t wait to finally be away from the stigma of freshmen-hood. When I was a junior, I couldn’t wait to finally be a senior, and be one step closer to graduation and freedom from college politics.
I’ve spent so much time looking forward to being a senior, now that I’m here, I wish I could go back to simpler times. I wish I could be anything but a senior.
You see, when you’re a senior, people start assuming that you know what you’re doing with your life. A cliché and frequent conversation I’ve had in the past two months goes something like this:
“Oh, I’m a senior at John Carroll University.” “What are you studying?” “I’m an English/history double major.” “Oh, so you’re going to teach?”
It is, I suppose, a valid connection to make. What practical use is there for history majors in a world so ingrained in economics and finance? Of course there’s nothing wrong with teaching, but I don’t want to teach—not in the next five years, at least.
Being a senior means that everyone assumes that you know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. People expect you to know what you’re doing for the rest of your life at the ripe old age of 21.
If you’re one of the people who knows for 150 percent what you’re going to do for the next 44 years, then God bless you, because I don’t.
But I think it’s okay not to know. I think it’s 200 percent A-okay to not know what you want to do. Once you’re a senior, there are another 44 years left (assuming that the retirement age doesn’t change) until retirement is even an option.
So, many people change their career, their workplace, their location and their mind from college graduation to retirement—even if they believe that they know what they’re doing with their life.
Don’t let society’s perceived expectations that you should know what you’re doing with your life stress you out. More importantly, don’t let society’s expectations of your major, background or your skill set affect what you want to do with your life.
Maybe you don’t know right now. Maybe you won’t know what that path is in 10 years. But you’ll figure it out.
As for myself? I’ll let you know in 44 years what I did with my life.