BY JENNY WILSON
Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the new year, or maybe it’s because it’s my last semester as a student ever, but lately I have been freaking out about the future. Go to school. Get good grades. Get a good job. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Sounds simple right? Follow the plan and you’ll be fine. I’m following the plan, but I don’t feel fine. What happens if I don’t get a good job? What if I’m stuck in minimum wage retail forever? What if I worked so hard for all my school, but there are no jobs at the end of it all? How am I supposed to support myself in a city that takes so much to live in? What if my nest egg runs out? What if I have to move home? Are there any publishing jobs at home? Am I going to have to move to Alberta? Are there publishing jobs in Alberta? What am I going to do?
This all seems so dramatic now that I’ve written it down, but these are legitimate concerns that run on a constant loop inside my brain, and probably every other soon-to-be graduates brain. (Unless they were smart and went for something with a guaranteed job at the end of it.) Way back in high school when I was choosing my program I chose something that I liked, and that I was good at. I’m not saying that I loved writing essays on How to Kill a Mockingbird, but I loved writing stories, and reading the novels. Hell, I even liked Shakespeare. What I didn’t consider was the job market, but they always say do something that you love, or else you’ll be miserable. So I chose something that I love. But now there are very few jobs available in what I love to do.
For the first time in my life I feel like I don’t know what the next step is. I’ve done elementary, high school, university and now college. Each time I had a new step to move onto but now I can’t see where I’m going or if there is even a step there. Am I going to fall on my face as soon as I graduate? How long is it going to take me to get where I want to be? Or a better question is: where do I want to be?
I know lots of people who never took the conventional path and they ended up just fine, and I know some people who did take the right path and are still looking for satisfaction. How do I make sure that I’m part of the group that has complete contentment with where I’m at? Is there some course, or a seminar that I should be taking? Do I have to join a secret club? No matter how many times someone says, “you’re a smart girl. You’ll be fine,” it never makes my uncertainty go away. I understand that I probably won’t work minimum wage for the rest of my life, but I’m also concerned that I’ll spend it doing something I don’t like simply because I have to support myself.
Maybe it’s time to screw the plan altogether. Maybe I need to go explore the world, meet some new people. Maybe I need to furiously apply to jobs, or do a million internships. Maybe I need to adopt a bunch of cats and become a hermit. Maybe I need to write a book. I don’t know what to do and it’s only going to get worse as graduation looms closer, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.
So as Elsa would say, let it go. Let go of all that uncertainty because right now it’s only causing unwanted stress, and nobody needs that. I know I can’t control the future and I can only try to prepare myself for the woes of the real world. Chances are that I’ll be fine. Life is full of uncertainty and it would be boring if it weren’t. So in a way I’m glad that I don’t know what’s going to happen. I might not be able to see the next step, but I might be coming up to a major intersection, or some metaphorical door or something. Who knows? I certainly don’t, and maybe that’s okay. All I know is that I don’t need to have it figured out right now.