It’s crazy to think that I’ve been out of school (and by ‘school’, I mean my undergraduate studies) for almost two years. It’s simply amazing how time flies now that I’m getting older and older. Next thing I know, I’ll be on my deathbed. Can’t wait. However, before then comes the age-old question of what do you do next.
I have friends who have had their (hopefully) Permanent Job ever since they graduated or have otherwise found their niche in life. Some even bought their first house and/or car. I have friends who are still in the transitional phase like me, or are temporarily doing something – waiting for something bigger and, preferably, better – also like myself. Then I thought of when I was still in grade school and we had journal topics on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember making up class rolls at home and I played with that; I just loved the idea of telling people what to do and have them listen to me as a teacher. Now that I’ve been a teacher, among other things, I know that’s not the case. I also know that I’m just not teacher material – I’m too impatient, too much of an introvert, I prefer working alone, and I’ve a mind that works at my every whim in the most random of manners. I’m not consistent. However, there’s a difference between childhood fantasies (it never went farther than a teacher and then my next “epiphany of the future” was when I had randomly applied to a magnet high school and their medical sciences program) and reality. Once in high school and enrolled in such specific courses, I switched between so many occupations within the health sciences arena that I just simply wanted to try it all.. just nothing too boring. Unfortunately for me, once I got used to something, it got boring.
Now, reality (and my age) comes knocking at my door. Truthfully speaking, I’m not that old, but I’m definitely not that young anymore. After all, if I were to come into my work office with my hair in pigtails, a lollipop stuck in my mouth, and donning on a pair of neon yellow overalls (don’t hate; I used to have a pair of neon yellow cargo pants), people would think I didn’t belong. The adult world is full of rules, pressures, expectations, wants…
It doesn’t help that two days after I returned to the States after a year and ten days living abroad, my grandma tried to introduce me to someone. No, not as a friend, but as a potential life partner. You know… husband. I always saw myself as a free spirit and I like having things happen to me as they do; surprises were something I enjoyed for the most part (my grandma’s surprise does not fall under this category, though it was amusing for three seconds). I’m not saying that I’ll always be single (though with my tendency to move about, I don’t see it being impossible), but I’ve realised it’s best not to want – it’s better to let things fall into place to make things less complicated and stressful. However, to myself, I’m still young and I can’t believe that people consider me an adult. An adult?? I was known as the Kid Teacher at school, both for my looks and my occasional bouts of child-like… somethings. Shoot me. I still have a lot to learn and experience before I’ll even let myself consider this idea of settling down.
Ever since I graduated from high school, I had the oddest mixture of professions make their way onto my resume, from being a private tutor, a teacher in a public school, a dissertation editor, a waitress, a hostess, a receptionist, and now, a bookkeeper (let me assure you that I know nothing about accounting or bookkeeping). I’ve also volunteered in day cares (I don’t recommend it – made me realise how quickly kids learn bad things), community events, Habitat for Humanity, and interned at well-known hospitals and private optometry clinics. At this point in time, I’m currently a volunteer teacher at a temple community English class for ESL speakers. Yes, I know – I’m not teacher material but to them, because I’ve had over a year in experience, they might as well hook me in. In my defense, this was before I got a job and was a bum so I was burning with this intense desire to do something – anything – even go back to teaching. Lucky me, I got my current job the week after my first class. See, I’ve realised that things happen to me more – usually of the sort that I like – when I don’t think about it. The week before, I decided to completely give up the idea of getting a paying job after 3 months of no luck with this falling economy of ours.
After all that, it makes me annoyed and perhaps even a little discontent that I’m falling into the mold of what is expected. My family (and extended family) “secretly” hopes that I keep this ‘safe’ office job and somehow make my way up the ranks. I’m sure they also like it because it’ll keep me with them for once and perhaps even allow me to – gasp – find a significant other and then wedding bells will be in the air. Wow, that sort of sickened me a bit, there. I admit that a part of me is attracted to the idea of stability, but a majority of me just wants to do what I want to do. Unfortunately, I don’t quite know what that is yet, other than graduate school within a field that will have a high possibility of sending me around the world, which is hopefully on the horizon. I enjoy keeping an open mind, but I know there are downsides, especially when everything in Real Life is all about Concrete Answers, even though we live among shades of grey. Even the Statement of Purposes that I must write for my grad school applications are asking me what I plan to study and research – how would I know if I want to go there are study in the first place to broaden and increase my knowledge? So now, I find myself making up stories that hopefully makes me sound like a prime candidate, but really makes me feel like I’m lying my way through it all.
And all for what? For this so-called stability. Even though I like to deviate from the path, I know that money is the means to get to it. My goal is to travel because that’s the quickest way (and most rewarding) for me to experience, and traveling takes a lot of money, unless you find some grand opportunity like teach in a foreign country through a program that pretty much pays for you to be there. To clarify, my idea of a proper trip abroad isn’t a week with a tour group; I believe in that idea of do what the locals do. Okay, so working abroad’s been checked off my list, but I know that it’s not ideal that I do it once more, even though I’d love to – especially since my dream job has nothing to do with teaching and most jobs available abroad is that of an English teacher.
When you think about it, though, everything revolves around making a living. Oh, how I wish that I could just be what I wanted to, and I guess I am (my mother’s probably lamenting to how I’ll just keep on jumping around – she had thought that after college, I would have found a nice job to work with until I retire; sorry, I’ve only just started) doing it in my own way. The only thing is to find out what I can do for the next five decades or so of my life that I enjoy, rather than because I merely have to or due to outside pressure. After all, I was a biology major, but after I completely switched over during my second semester of college, I know that I influenced some people around me to study what they wanted instead of what their parents wanted and they all seem pretty happy now.
I just want to learn and find my own niche- is that too much to ask? Sort of like how you learn a lot out of school, the world is my classroom, and sadly, the work environment generally isn’t one that’s conducive to a ton of learning. You may learn a lot at the beginning, but later on, it’ll be the same thing over and over. I’m a double major with a minor, with several jobs under my belt. I love medicine but dislike science and I really dislike math. I still stick by my roundabout method of getting what I want, making pitstops every now and then.
Here’s to my continued happiness!
All dreams and aspirations should be kept, right? That’s the only way they have the chance of being obtained.