I love high achievers, ambitious people and those who respect hard work.
My friends who already have jobs and internships lined up for next year – awesome. Crazy kids with the 4.0 GPAs – way to go. The guy who sits next to me in class with the marked up book who knows exactly what he wants to do in life – can I borrow your notes for the midterm?
This is not sarcasm: I love being around people who are just as driven as I hope I am.
But you don’t have to move so quickly, trying to set up your ideal life in a few easy steps. In case no one’s ever told you before – and I’m sure they have because it’s the same phrase I hear every time my phone battery dies or there are no blueberry bagels in the caf – life’s not easy.
I think everyone’s to blame when it comes to trying to lock things in permanently. If I buy these Tory Burch riding boots, I’ll be set for life. I found one hat I really like and now I wear it to class every single day, even if it’s got some dirt on the back and the brim is peeling off.
I’ve planned my future since third grade: I’ll study biology, go to med school right after and then work hard to make sure I get into the Cleveland Clinic. I’ll just disregard the fact that I actually liked the philosophy class the core forced me to take, because who has time for that?
Can I just enlighten you for one minute? You’re barely 20. You may be 18 and sneaking in a few Nattys this weekend, or you may be 22 and oh so refined, sipping a vodka cranberry (let’s not stretch it) in Ohio City. Either way, you have your whole life ahead of you. Really. You could say that you have only lived a quarter of your life and you’d only have to make it to 80.
You could spend 20 years with three different spouses raising three sets of children by then (not that you would). You could make it to the edge of our solar system and almost all the way back. You could grow a full sized palm tree four times over (if you want to grow your own retirement beach).
Mark Twain was a steamboat captain, served in the army and mined for gold. Jimmy Stewart was an architect. Christopher Walken worked as a lion tamer at a circus.
Don’t you want a story you can tell those adorable grandchildren?
Don’t get me wrong. As a senior, I’m stressing over the GRE and the LSAT, researching grad schools and meeting with faculty way more than anyone should. I plan to work hard and contribute something to society. I think there’s more to life than having fun.
But I don’t plan to throw myself in the “life-career” bin so quickly. To be honest, I’m kind of up for some traveling, or developing a different set of skills. Most people who know me know I’ve always wanted to try out being a postal worker delivering the mail for a week or two.
So I encourage you to at least consider trying some new things and don’t lock yourself in so quickly. Maybe for a year or two – maybe just one semester. Don’t stress so much about getting there quickly. Do you really even know where “there” is?
Remember, “there are plenty of fish in the sea;” “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy;” “you only live once;” “one day at a time, sun gon’ shine.