So a bit of a personal story. I’ve never posted here, and don’t know where to start, so I guess at the beginning. Brace for a bit of a long-winded read.
Some background: My college career has been a bit of a blur.
I started out at a school in Boston, a business major. Made some good close friends, breezed through my classes despite not being stimulated by them, and loved living in the city.
However, the summer after my freshman year I realized going back just didn’t seem right. After all, I was only 19, my heart wasn’t in what I was doing, and Boston is expensive as shit to live in.
So I moved back home. Transferred to a SUNY near my house. Time to do some searching, I told myself. I began taking anthropology and was very stimulated by the course material at first. Outside of school though…. things became a bit hairy. Well, searching turned into me becoming immensely distracted by several addictions, including but not limited to; the Internet, smoking weed, going to music shows, drinking beer, not giving a fuck, …. and eventually… feelings of depression. I got addicted to them, too, without even realizing it.
My schoolwork suffered, as did several important relationships in my life. For about a month, I felt as if my whole world was about to collapse and couldn’t understand why I was missing the mark.
Recently I have undergone a transformation. It’s hard to say what I accredit it to. Being in a nightmare will really inspire you to wake up. I feel back to my normal self. I am reading a lot again, spending less time mindlessly doing things, have been practicing Zen and a lot of Yoga.
Herein lies the problem: I’m terrified of accepting a full-time job. I’ve been interviewed for a few entry-level positions completely not related to my field (insurance, customer service, etc. basically secure cubicle jobs).
It seems like it could be a good spring-board to start something else, as I’d be saving money, making connections, etc. BUT… what… I can’t live that kind of life! I can’t get stuck doing that kind of stuff. My heart is just not in it and I have never been a rat racer.
I want to take time to explore options but I’m not sure how I can do that and remain financially stable. I want to travel… explore my Yoga practice… learn new skills, languages, knowledge. Explore myself within and the world without.
I feel I can do all of this now especially minus the stress of my ego (albeit not dead, but my soul seems stronger now than ever) and the stress of school.
Anybody have any kind of advice, point in any sort of direction, or are going through something similar?
I have found myself in a similar position, though about a year behind you regarding school. Here’s a little background. It’ll seem a tad far-fetched at first, but bear with me:
As of now, I have about one year left before I finish undergrad–majoring in international relations. Up until recently I had wanted to pursue medical school following my undergrad. I took a majority of the required courses and also got some hands on experience in the hospital, but always felt there was something missing. My father is a physician and I was always interested in his stories and the thrill of helping people.. but found myself fairly bored and distracted when I studied and saw how stressed, unhappy and ‘out of gas’ he was. I realized then I want to enjoy life. I want to live the way that makes me happy, but also the way in which I feel ALIVE!
So I began thinking.. is this for me? What else could I be doing? What is my purpose in life? I began brainstorming and relating my interests to the things that I want to achieve. I still want to help people. That is my purpose, and always has been. Just because becoming a physician isn’t for me, doesn’t mean I can’t manipulate my plan in another fashion.
So, with a Bachelor’s in IR under my belt soon, I started planning what to do next. I decided I want to go for an MBA in the near future (which I will), but also realized.. this is my chance to explore. RIGHT NOW. Not later. Later (personally), I plan on getting married (..hopefully) and raising kids, and paying for a mortgage (whoopee) and living how no one our age wants to at the moment. ..But with said future plans, that’s the sacrifice we must make. So while we’re young why don’t we volunteer abroad or live in a hostel in Pamplona and run with the bulls, or backpack across Europe or Australia or live in Chile’ for two years–or in your case, explore yoga, learn new skills, languages, knowledge? WE MUST. It’s as simple as that. ..Your parents, grandparents, professors, neighbors, your boss, siblings, everyone might tell you how irresponsible it is or how you’re wasting time. Wasting whose time? ..Because you aren’t wasting their time, and if I’m not mistaken.. it’s your life, no one else’s. We have one life and as long as we are treating others with kindness and we are trying to better ourselves then do what makes you happy! I am not trying to give off the rebellious vibe, but more of trying to show you that you will never feel alive if you do not listen to your heart and soul.
Also, you state, “I want to take time to explore options but I’m not sure how I can do that and remain financially stable”. Well, the hard truth is sometimes we can’t be as financially stable as we wish. If you want to explore, travel, yadda yadda, then you might have to trade in some stability in the ‘ol bank account in order to fulfill your dreams. Now, I am not saying that you should be living off food stamps your whole life while expecting society to support your four kids and justifying this by saying “I’m just livin’ my dream, man”..–Now THAT would be irresponsible.
So there is nothing wrong with being a little short in funds when you’re young as long as you aren’t depending entirely on others. And quite frankly, some of my fondest memories traveling has been due to the fact that I was (still am) dirt poor–and because of that, actually saw the beauty in the world, in cultures, and nature.
As for me, I am in the process of applying to the Peace Corps after I graduate. I love offering myself to others, making people smile, traveling, cultures, and I’m damn good at living cheaply (my diet consists of Ramen, vitamins and PBR–and no, I’m not a health freak).
So go out and live your dream, no matter what it is. And in a few years if you decide your dream is to be a top tier corporate manager or a successful sales rep for outdoor sports gear or you find that you want to go into law, journalism, or engineering.. THEN DO IT CASSPER! You may think it sounds far-fetched–and it is, if you believe it to be.
My logical reasoning for why you are hesitant on pursuing this dream:
Your parents will ‘not support you’ ..in which, they shouldn’t be once you have finished undergrad. Or your parents will ‘tear you a new asshole’ ..in which I say, glue your balls back on and take charge of your life. I have and it has made all the difference. If this does not apply to you, then disregard.
To wrap things up, you also say “I feel I can do all of this now especially minus the stress of my ego (albeit not dead, but my soul seems stronger now than ever) and the stress of school”. If you’re not done with school, then finish that up. It’ll be more difficult to finish once you take a break. Also, what’s with the ego? Do you feel you have to prove yourself in a certain manner toward authority figures, etc? Perhaps I am reading into it the wrong way.
Anyways, I apologize for rambling. I Hope there’s at least one thing I mentioned that has inspired you or let you look at this dilemma in a whole new light. Feel free to write back with questions, comments, or even to elucidate the fact that I am only being an ignorant asshole and nothing more. I hope it isn’t the latter.
Best of luck and safe travels friend,
@jcassper, The good news is that there are SO many more opportunities out there than you may think.
Practically speaking, if you get a cubicle job to make ends meet for now, you can always quit and go have an adventure.
As for exciting opportunities, travel! Go get yoga instructor certified abroad. It’s cheaper and you get to experience another culture! Teach English abroad! Join the Peace Corps!
I haven’t graduated yet, but I have gone through some changes in course of study in college as well. My major changes are as follows: Psychology-Nursing-Philosophy-General Business. Now I’m a double major in Religious Studies and Global Studies with a minor in International Management and I’m loving it.
I’ve been abroad for 5 out of the past 7 months. I’m going home for about a month then heading to Nicaragua. I’ve been studying the whole time. Since I’ve been abroad, I’ve been finding about new opportunities everywhere.
Like you, I have spunk and drive. I can’t make myself do something my heart isn’t in and that’s why I couldn’t do the nursing or business. But when I do something I’m passionate about, I really succeed. You seem like you’re the same way. Just keep looking. Don’t limit yourself. The world is at your fingertips. There is no reason for you to be stuck in a cubicle.
@danieldiscovers, Daniel, thank you for the rambling response, your sense of adventure seems similar to mine at this point. I am more than willing to live off ramen and PBR (and have been doing so for the past semester…) And like you, I figure I can have more stable income — and family — once I am older and have these experiences under my belt. Life’s too short to listen to everyone else’s advice for what is and isn’t a “waste of your time”. Besides, someone who has followed their dreams is more likely to continue to find success in whatever way they measure it.
@danieldiscovers as for your question, I am graduating this sunday! Although I thought about dropping out pre-maturely. The ego part — I feel I have recently conquered part of it. This is something I had to prove to myself. I learned some things about my subconscious the hard way — and it has become infinitely easier to dispell my negative attitude and self-limiting thoughts in recent days.
Best of luck to you finishing school, and safe travels as well. Souls like ours are not meant to settle for things.
@emmaclaire , I figured the same thing about quitting after making ends meet, but it also seems like those are the kind of jobs you have to stay at for like a year to make anything worthy out of it. I just don’t know if I can commit that right now. There’s a fire inside my chest and I want to keep it going!
I want to go abroad as you have. The opportunities are endless once you put yourself out there. I’m sure you know this from your experience in Nicaragua. People with your kind of spunk and drive can put themselves out there anywhere they go.
Getting certified abroad for yoga may be a good option. Additionally, I speak Italian and have some family in Italy, so teaching English also might be a good option. I’m a bit nervous but mostly excited about the endless possibilities of the next chapter. Mostly, it feels as if a big burden is off my shoulders now that I’m graduating and putting my college years in the past. Most of it seemed like a waste during the time, but I’ve learned a lot and feel ready for what is next.
Btw, religious, global studies, and international business. That’s interesting. What are your plans after college?
@jcassper, If you DO end up taking a job, just make sure to never let your dreams die!
I actually spent a month in the middle east, came home for two months, and now I’m in Europe. I will leave for Nicaragua at the beginning of February :)
Don’t let graduating seem like a burden. In reality, it is setting you free. Now you can do whatever you want. What are you getting your degree in?
Immediately after college I plan to teach English abroad. My dream places to teach would be Central/South America or Southeast Asia. Hopefully I can teach in one of those places for a couple months but I think I will end up in South Korea, China or the Middle East for about a year because that is where the money is and I would like to save up some money for future goals. Besides, these places sound like a great experience too! I have considered pursuing a lot of different careers like counseling, getting a PhD in anthropology or religious studies and doing research or teaching… but now I am leaning more towards doing something with humanitarian aid or sustainable international development. I am just really passionate about sustainability, global issues and helping people. I might apply for the Peace Corps as well… right now I am just kind of living life and seeing where it takes me. :)
@emmaclaire, you’re right, it IS setting me free :) of course there are reservations, but as I said I’m ready for whatever is next.
Asia seems like a good bet for you to teach English. The jobs are a-plenty and you’re right, that’s where the money is. Of course, there’s humanitarian efforts possible in all of those places. I’d like to get my hands on, too. I’ve just heard mixed things about the Peace Corps.
Central/south America is absolutely naturally stunning, I have a friend who is currently traveling through Peru and Argentina and I am insanely jealous. While some parts are less than safe, someone who has experience traveling in the middle east should be able to handle herself just fine :)
My degree is in [Biological] Anthropology as I mentioned in my OP. I do love the subject material, but my work in college has been less than satisfactory (other than my lab experience this semester, which has been fun:) Eventually, I’d like to pursue it if possible, grad school just doesn’t seem like a good option at this time.
@jcassper, Wow! Well congrats buddy, I hope Sunday goes well for you. Just listen to your heart–and I hope your sense of adventure and personal growth continue fueling the fire in this new chapter in your life. Good luck to you both!