(Art by Grace Cho @yoooookyung)
When I was 18 years old, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. Then, I came to college. My dreams of being a fashion designer changed to being a buyer, then changed to being a fashion writer, and lastly, took its final form as wanting to be a strategist. However, even now, as senior in college with about nine weeks left in my academic career, I still don’t fully know what I want or who I want to be. Underclassmen friends and mentees turn to me for advice and ask me what I’m going to do next because I’ve achieved a lot in college. When I say that I’m not sure, confusion always spins their faces. To that, I tell them to just wait until they’re a little older, then they’ll understand.
I’m not sure if my inability to know what I’ll be doing six months from now or my strong desire to move to Hawaii and be a server is because of the COVID-19 college experience or just me being picky about my career. I think I’ll blame COVID-19. I spent my entire sophomore year at a desk in a guest room at my parent’s house. After that, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let myself live at home after college. Not because of my family, but because this enormous desire to move on from my hometown developed inside of me. Although, now that I’m in this part of my life, my parent’s house isn’t looking too bad – at least for a few months.
The second semester of senior year brings an immense amount of change and a feeling of uncertainty. My freshman year, I wrote an article about welcoming uncertainty. Instead of pushing this feeling out, one must go through it to conquer it and find what is certain. At 22 years old, I have no idea where life is going to bring me, and even though some of my peers think that they do, none of us can see the whole picture.
This is what second semester of senior year is. It’s people saying they’ve applied to 50 jobs when you’ve applied to 10; it’s motivating yourself to do classwork when you would so much rather be hanging out with a friend; it’s professors asking how they can help you; it’s parents calling asking for updates on the job search; it’s drinking Moscow mules and having dance parties in your small apartment with your friends as you all try to soak up the last of four short years. I could have written this about job searching tips, how to network, or just not have been so vulnerable. But what’s professionalism in 2023 without a little vulnerability?
If you’re a senior reading this, I hope it resonated with you in some way and touched on things that no one seems to talk about enough. If you’re an underclassman, I hope you remember that you might think you know exactly what is going to happen to you and what path you’re headed down, but in reality, you just don’t know. That’s why you have to continue doing things that make you feel authentically yourself. Go for the things that bring you joy and make you feel secure. The second semester of senior year is one of the most beautiful times we’ll get to experience in life, even if it’s horrible at times. Don’t wish it away.