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An Honest Post

May 31, 2011

May I preface this post by saying that I originally wrote it a few days ago when I was in a not-so-optimistic mood?  In other words, it’s not a reflection of my mood today, which is actually pretty darn good Smile  Regardless, I still felt like sharing what I wrote.

                                                                                                     

In all honesty, regardless of how I may come off in writing, I’m not always so sure of myself.

I’m embarking on a new phase in my life.  The “I graduated college and have to be an adult” phase.  Some aspects of this phase certainly sound appealing, like the no homework, no studying, no class presentations part, but other aspects don’t sound quite as fun.  What do you mean I don’t get summers off anymore??

In other words, I’m going through a bit of an identity crisis at the moment.  I’ve been “the good student” for so long now that I’m having a hard time adjusting now that I’m not a student at all. 

To be honest, I’ve been struggling with this for a while.  Pretty much since I started my senior year and the “So what are your plans after graduation?” question started being asked.  And asked a lot.  My answer?  I have no clue.  And please don’t ask if I’m going to be a teacher.  Apparently teaching is the only career you can get into with an English degree.  I assure you this isn’t true.  And really it wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, it was that I wanted to do nothing.  “Nothing?  What do you mean you wanted to do nothing?  You can’t do nothing.”  Such was the response I received.  I guess I should have clarified my definition of nothing. 

                                                                                                       

Nothing:

  • Having a job that’s fun and pays the bills but most definitely isn’t a career.
  • Taking life a little lot less seriously.
  • Having free time to do the things I enjoy most, i.e. reading, writing, cooking/baking, leisurely running, developing my photography “skills,” hiking, eating tasty food.  In other words living a stress free reduced (who am I kidding, I’ll never be stress free, I get stressed trying to decide what to top my oatmeal with!) life.

                                                                                                      

Despite the fact that lots of people have assured me that there’s nothing wrong with that plan, for some reason I feel unsure about it. 

In all honesty, I did find a job that fits into my aforementioned plan.  Problem is, when people ask me if I found a job yet I feel uneasy revealing what it is.  I feel this immense pressure as a college graduate to have a “worthy” job, something that reflects the 4 years of hard work I put in.  I think this pressure is partly my doing.  I’ve always had high expectations for myself.  Sigh, my wants and my expectations are really at odds right now.

Sorry for such a weighty post, but I just wanted to be honest and admit that everything is not all rainbows and butterflies over here on Isle de Lauren.  Plus I can always rely on you all for some sound advice/comforting comments Smile

Have you ever felt lost or pressured to do something that you didn’t really want to do?

P.S. I will now return to writing about happier things, like the recipes, restaurant reviews and race recaps I promised.  Is it just a coincidence that all of those things happen to begin with the letter R?

Happy Tuesday!

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2011 5:39 PM

    I feel pressured constantly. Life is about learning to let go and living for yourself and your happiness!

    • May 31, 2011 10:43 PM

      That’s definitely a lesson I’m still trying to learn.

  2. May 31, 2011 5:43 PM

    I think it is absolutely okay to do your version of nothing for awhile. And I say enjoy it while you can 🙂

  3. May 31, 2011 6:15 PM

    I’ve been having “future/career dilemmas” already, too. Yes, I do feel pressure to “go out and get ’em,” but at the same time…my wants are very similar to yours! I guess it’s just kind of like…when you’re a kid you can’t wait to grow up and now that I’m just about grown up I want my summer vacas and freedom back 😛 Job-wise…I agree. I want something so that I can live comfortably, but I’m not willing to settle for something I’m unhappy in. I love the job I have now, but the nag in me says it’s not realistic. Mreh.
    When applying for college, I had a lot of pressure to apply to far-off “big city” places. Would I make a better living for myself? Well, most likely, yes – but I honestly don’t think I’d have been as happy. I like smaller towns. More relaxed atmospheres.
    But, that’s life. Everything will work out in the end 😉

    • May 31, 2011 10:42 PM

      Thanks, Jess. I think happiness should always comes first. I just forget that sometimes.

  4. May 31, 2011 6:29 PM

    Oh, girl, it’s like you’ve been reading my mind. I just graduated recently, and although I was super excited to leave school, now I just kinda wanna go back… I’ve been a student for so long, that I really don’t know anything else, and it’s that fear of the unknown that scares me. Plus I don’t even really feel that ready to be all grown up yet… It’s like that somehow means that I suddenly have to have everything figured out, and I don’t… Work? More school? No idea. All I know, at this point, is that I’m not made for that super ambitious, go go go lifestyle. I want a more quiet life where I’m able to do what I want… and that’s hard to stick to when the message the world sends you is “do more”… “get more”… “be more”… I just wanna be me, and I’m still figuring out who that is.

    • May 31, 2011 10:41 PM

      Oh Amanda, we are so similar. A quiet lifestyle is all I’ve ever wanted. Maybe it’s selfish or unrealistic to want to do the things that make me happen without some demanding job getting in the way, but I can’t help it.

  5. May 31, 2011 6:31 PM

    I think that it’s hard to decide what you want to do when you have a degree you can do so MUCH with! Take your time, don’t rush into anything!

  6. May 31, 2011 6:58 PM

    Same thing happened to me when I graduated. It really leaves you all over the place. Everything will gradually fall into place, just enjoy your time now 🙂

    • May 31, 2011 9:47 PM

      Thanks, Jenny. It’s nice to hear someone say everything will work itself out.

  7. May 31, 2011 7:35 PM

    I think it’s absolutely ok to go with your plan and adjust as time goes on. The best part about life after college is that you can make it what you want. I am a firm believer in finding a balance in life but letting the “fun” stuff take over most of the time! 🙂

    • May 31, 2011 9:46 PM

      I like my life to have a good deal of “fun” too 🙂

  8. squigglefloey permalink
    May 31, 2011 7:57 PM

    Omg this is totally where I am right now. I graduate next week and still have no idea what I want to do. Obviously I want to find a job, but I haven’t yet. Because I don’t know what I freakin’ want to do!!! I have a journalism degree btw. So I feel you on this. I also want a job that matters and is valid, like you mention. My dad has a PhD so there’s also a lot of pressure from him to have a worthy job. Also, I’m moving home.
    Ack, I am all kinds of crazy right now.
    I know you’ll be fine though 🙂

    • May 31, 2011 9:46 PM

      Your optimism makes me feel much better 🙂 I’m sure having a PhD as a father is hard, but I’m also sure that means you have inherited some serious intelligence. In other words, I have no doubt that you will do great things!

  9. May 31, 2011 8:22 PM

    My parents originally freaked out on me when I told them I wasn’t going to go directly to medical school. For some reason, they thought I would somehow “forget” to apply in the years following medical school, and most of my family still doesn’t understand why I took two years off to do AmeriCorps service. AmeriCorps has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, yet it’s hard to convey it to many members of my family who view it as some sort of passing liberal, hippy whim of mine.

    Eventually my parents decided to support me with the AmeriCorps service and will now tell people that it’s the best thing I could have done for myself. I am now 100% ready for medical school and just really feel more confident in who I am after having had more time to figure out what’s important to me in a post-collegiate existence. Whatever you decide to do Lauren, don’t feel ashamed of it….even if others don’t understand why you’re doing it. If what you’re doing is important and meaningful to you , that’s all that matters. With that said, might I recommend AmeriCorps??? 🙂 Also, this might be the longest comment ever. Sorry about that!

    • May 31, 2011 9:44 PM

      That seriously brought tears to my eyes (yes, I’m highly emotional!). Thank you so much for this Lindsay. Really, it meant so much to me. And you should probably email me and explain what AmeriCorps is exactly 🙂

      • May 31, 2011 11:24 PM

        There is absolutely no need to apologize for being highly emotional…I’m the exact same way. I’ve been known to cry on occasion during the sad parts of Disney movies. Seriously. Anyway, I’m glad my words could bring you some comfort during what I know can be an uneasy time in a post-grad’s life! I’ll def send you an e-mail within the next day or so about AmeriCorps….:)

  10. May 31, 2011 10:25 PM

    I think what you are going through is so normal for many (dare I say most?) college grads, but that does NOT make it any easier. I think your plan sounds great because it is what you WANT right NOW. Once you figure out a “grander scheme” type plan, then you can go for it! But until you know what you want to do, you have to spend time experimenting and figuring it out. Most people dont just have their perfect career pop into their minds – it comes from experience and self reflection and trial and bigfaterror. I, too, dont plan on jumping into a career. Right now, I am pretty sure that I want to go to med school to become an endocrinologist, but “pretty sure” is not a good enough reason to go through the hell that it requires to actually get in. So, I will probably graduate next Spring and take a year or two to spend at my current and other internships and make sure that it is what I want to do OR figure out what I do want to do. And thennn I will hop back into school mode or whatever I need to do to “move on with my life.” I think as long as we stay at least semi focused we will be fine. But the most important thing is to enjoy our little time on this Earth and be HAPPY and cultivate relationships 🙂

    • June 1, 2011 9:51 PM

      I love that part about cultivating relationships 😀 Thanks for the kind words, Lauren and I know you’ll figure everything out for yourself as well!

  11. June 1, 2011 12:25 AM

    I think that is totally normal for a college grad. Just be glad that you didn’t major in something like art or japenese. Now there are some useless degrees!
    I feel pressured constantly- but it’s not quite the same as yours. 🙂 Mine is all about fulfilling pre-req’s for graduate schools and making it look like I really enjoyed all of them!

    • June 1, 2011 9:53 PM

      I admire your ambition! I knew someone who majored in Japanese and always wondered what you do with that kind of degree.

  12. June 1, 2011 3:12 AM

    I’m in the same situation – “I graduated college and have to be an adult”! What we forget is this is one of the only times in our lives where we CAN do whatever we want – we don’t have family to take care of, or ties to a specific place or job. If you need more time to decide what direction you want to go in, you have that time. You’ll be awesome whatever you do!

  13. milehighmark permalink
    June 1, 2011 9:45 AM

    Hey Lauren, my wife and I read and enjoy your blog daily. Hope you don’t mind me chiming in here.

    I certainly had a “limbo” period in my life when I was around the same age as you are now. The difference is that I had been in college for a few years, completely decided I was on the wrong path/major, and quit going to school. My period of what’s next? was burdened by the fact that I had not reached the finish line and had no degree to show for my college efforts. So after a few years of working a low-key job and just hanging with friends and enjoying life, change did happen for me when I was ready for it. I moved to another state (Colorado – go Rockies!) and my educational path soon revealed itself when I wasn’t stressing about it. At the not so ripe age of 29 I finally got my B.S. degree, and actually have worked in my field of study since. I did take the scenic route, but it was worth it, and it was the right path for me. Just like Tommy Boy…

    Tommy: Did you hear I finally graduated?
    Richard Hayden: Yeah, and just a shade under a decade too. All right.
    Tommy: You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.
    Richard Hayden: I know, they’re called doctors.

    Thanks for the honest post. Best wishes to you Lauren! -Mark

    • June 1, 2011 10:06 PM

      Yay, another Coloradoan! It’s really nice to hear someone else’s story and to know that even if life doesn’t follow the typical path, it always works itself out in the end. Oh and that quote totally made me laugh out loud!!

  14. June 1, 2011 2:00 PM

    At the moment I am sitting here shaking my head at you! Not for the reasons you think. I am shaking my head YES!!

    You should want and strive for that type of life. It is too short not to. Plus, no degree or amount of income is worth unhapiness. You have to have a job that you love, makes you smile, excites you, etc. Even if that job has nothing to do with your degree, go for it! Be happy 🙂

    I have several friends ask me why I do not work in a medical faciltiy so that I can make a much better income – to that I say why? Why work a job that has longer hours, only one vacation week a year, and that will keep me stressed out. I have the perfect fit in the school. I am home with my boys, I can vacation multiple times a year, and if you take into account the money I save with daycare/benefits then I am making a good salary. Follow you heart, your dreams, your desires. It is your life – live it like you know it is meant to be lived 🙂

    • June 1, 2011 9:53 PM

      Good for you, Helen. As long as YOUR happy, who cares how much you make!

  15. June 3, 2011 1:14 PM

    I’m just catching up on posts, but I wanted to comment and say you are not alone! The post-college time is hard for all of us. I have so many friends who have the very same feelings you expressed here. It’s one of the reasons I immediately went back to school, prolonging the actual time when I have to be a real “adult”! It can be hard because people (especially older people) seem to have a concept of what the “right” thing to do is after you graduate (I get that annoying teaching question all the time too since I majored in English), but seriously just do whatever makes you happy! Remember that you still have SO much time to figure out what you want and how you’re going to go after it! I know that I am taking my sweet time over here! 🙂

    • June 3, 2011 7:02 PM

      Yay, love talking to a fellow English major 🙂 My mom would have been much happier with me if I had copied you and gone to law school 😛

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