Monday, May 10, 2010


The university where I work held its commencement ceremonies this past weekend. This time of the year is always a bittersweet time for me; I think it's all the optimism and hope. I remember when I graduated college not so long ago. The weight of exams, papers, classes, and overall academia was lifted off my shoulders for the very last time, and I celebrated by partying, making an appearance at the commencement ceremonies to pick up my diploma, and then partying some more. All the while I was infused with a strong sense of hope and optimism--finally I'll be able to get a full-time job and pay off some debts. Finally I'll be able to get started on a public relations career path that will hopefully lead to a writing career. Finally. I had done well in college (graduated Cum Laude, holla!) and was ready to make a place for myself in the world. The canvas was gloriously blank, and I was ready to start drawing. So I did. And as I drew, I noticed with growing alarm that the scribbles I was making weren't matching up to the portrait I had in my head. They weren't even close. I was bummed. I was angry. I was confused. I was learning that not all life plans come to fruition, and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

John Lennon said it perfectly: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." When I graduated college, I never, in a million years, thought I'd be where I am now. And while at first I was having a hard time with that dose of reality, I've now grown to appreciate it. I've made some great friends where I work. I've learned invaluable--invaluable--lessons in regards to working with a diverse group of people and office politics. I've realized (well, still realizing) my own potential when it comes to what kind of responsibilities I can handle and how much I can handle. And I've learned to be open to the curve balls life throws me. So instead of worrying about where my life is going, I'm investigating. Investigating different career options. Going outside of my comfort level in my personal life and making new friendships. Trying new things. And I'm doing all of this with no real agenda, no real plan, and if I do make a plan, it's tentative, since I know that there is a chance it might not come to light. I'm okay with this. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I'm excited at the possibilities. Still, though, the optimism I have now is different than what I had when I graduated college. Maybe it's more mature, I don't know. But whenever commencement rolls around, a part of me still wishes I had a little of that naive hope left.