Over the past week, Kels and I have spent a lot of time talking about graduate school, summer jobs, careers, and just our futures in general. I guess I'm just sort of coming to terms with the idea that nothing is going to be certain or set in stone for another couple of years--that we're all a little bit lost, but that's just what our 20s are for.
For those of us that went to Hamilton, I feel like we all graduated with this sense of urgency. Get a job, find an apartment, and settle down into life. But for most of us (with the great exception of economics and computer science majors), we have all struggled meet our own expectations. And that is such a hard thing. Graduating from a school like Hamilton with honors and prizes, I felt like I would be a failure if I didn't end up with a job in my career field by the end of summer, which is the well established grace period for recent graduates. I even felt a bit embarrassed to take on an absolutely amazing internship at CSIS just because it was, well, still an internship. Even now, when people ask me what I do, I hesitate. Did I just graduate from school? Am I unemployed? Former intern? Hopeful applicant to graduate school? Traveler? There are so many possible answers, but I'm not really happy with any of them.
I guess, I think that it's just time to embrace this sort of phase in my life. Yeah, I feel incredibly lost and frustrated that I don't have a job. And yeah, I feel like a HUGE loser when I have to check the unemployed box when I fill out my visa applications. And I obviously hate telling people that I moved back home to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. But I'm also realizing that these moments do not define me and, more importantly, that most of us feel this way right now. And Hamilton definitely did not and could not prepare us for these feelings. No matter what, it's hard to go from a environment in which we were all overachievers to one in which, try as we might, many of us just cannot get those jobs that we want. And that is okay. It is okay to feel lost. To apply to Ivy League graduate schools we can't get into. To fill out thirty job applications that we know we won't here back from. To dream big, but to feel crushed when we just can't make it. To re-evaluate. To fly half way around the world to seem cool, while we really are just avoiding starting our lives. That's what our 20s are for.
(Inset cliche picture of me pensively looking out into the distance. Obviously, I am thinking of very wise profound things)