What’s next?

Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait· The Sentry

I’ve been a student for about 18 years. And I don’t really remember the few years before I started preschool; so, as far as my mind is concerned, I’ve been a student my whole life.

But in May, if all goes according to plan, I will leave the title of student behind me and venture into the working world. What is that even like?

Before this year, I have felt completely prepared to graduate and take on a full-time job. But as a senior, I have recently started having to think about my life after college more seriously, and my sense of preparedness has plummeted.

Emails about resume workshops and career fairs that I had glazed over before are now treasures of my inbox. I have started updating my LinkedIn profile for the first time since freshman year, and I am now realizing that “business attire” is maybe something I should invest in getting more of.

But the scariest part of this whole process is not knowing what’s next.

When I was done with elementary school, I knew I was moving on to middle school. Once that was over, it was time for high school. Toward the end of high school, I knew I was going to go to college. And I only ever applied to one school, so I pretty much knew where I would end up.

Now, I have no idea where I am going. I have been researching marketing jobs and internships and other opportunities, and there are a lot of them. Since I don’t know what I want to do, the options are overwhelming.

But the most frustrating part is that even if I knew exactly what I wanted, I couldn’t plan for it anyways. Companies aren’t really looking to hire almost-college-grads nine months in advance.

So basically all these searches do are show me opportunities that probably won’t be available for me when I graduate­ and remind me that this isn’t something I can plan for months in advance like I have every other big step in my life.

If it sounds like I am just rambling off a bunch of personal worries, it’s because I am. And usually, my columns end with some kind of realization of mine or some words of advice, but I can’t offer that this time because I haven’t really figured this one out for myself yet.

I have no idea what I will be doing a year from right now, and it’s scary. But it’s also exciting. This adventure is more new to me than anything else I have done. And even though I may not feel prepared to start it, I am more than prepared to try.

Tessa Blair
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