It’s time to talk about the future.
This fall, I will be a senior in college. These past three years have absolutely flown by, and every year has gotten increasingly more wonderful and more stressful. Right now, the thought of all I have to do in the next year looms over me. I just know this next year will be the most stressful yet.
- I’ll be taking 18 hours of classes both semesters. Because I added my Spanish major in sophomore year, about half of my fall classes will be gen eds I did not take freshman year, so the load shouldn’t be awful. But the upper division classes I’ll have will be brutal, and then in the spring I’ll have all upper division and two theses to complete for graduation.
- I may or may not be working, because I may or may not have enough money to cover the whole year. I honestly don’t know yet, and so I can’t make a plan.
- I’m going to have to start applying for big girl jobs in the fall, which means I’m trying to figure out for sure this summer what it is I really want to do.
- The boyfriend and I need to decide where we are going to move, because we’ll need to search for jobs in that area. That’s a big decision.
- Speaking of the boyfriend, our plan as of now is to get engaged in the spring, which will add wedding planning stress onto regular life stress. Plus, we’ve decided it would be more economical to go ahead and move in together after graduation, which goes against both of out parents’ beliefs.
On top of all this, I’ll have to try to keep up my social life, which for an introvert like me can be difficult even when things aren’t crazy. It’s an exciting time in life right now, but it’s also very scary.
This summer is a bit of a break, sort of. I didn’t go home this summer, because I am taking 4 summer classes that I need in order to graduate on time. These classes come with their own type of stress, because one is a whole semester’s worth of material condensed into a month, and the other 3 are online classes whose professors for some reason decided that group homework and projects were a good idea. However, very few of my friends are here this summer, so on one hand I have plenty of time for my classes and my part-time job. On the other hand it gets lonely.
Honestly though, while all this is incredibly stressful, it’s not what is really bothering me. I know all this won’t be fun, but I know I can handle it. I can take it for one more year. What’s really bothering me is that sometimes I feel that I will never get a job I can be proud of.
These feelings started this summer when I decided to stay at school. I had a great job in my hometown working as a floating bank teller. It wasn’t the most exciting job, but the pay was good and it was great experience. However, the bank was local and so I couldn’t just transfer to a branch here for the summer. I had to quit.
I found a new summer job here in town, in a department store as an apparel associate. To be completely honest, it’s not my favorite. The people I work with are okay as people, but as employees no one seems to really care about the business. On top of this, the pay is not great, I barely get enough hours to pay my bills, and I have a bit of an ethical issue with offering credit, which means I don’t get credit card applications, which means I don’t get as many hours. I’ve been looking casually at other jobs, but most of the options available won’t be much better than the job I have. It’s a frustrating situation.
I also research possible big girl jobs for next year, just to get an idea of what’s out there and what qualifications I might need. I’m certain I’m not the only student that experiences this, but every job I am interested in requires experience that I don’t have and don’t know if I can get in the next few years. I’ve really been looking into real estate certification, but I know that market is competitive and will challenge me and to be honest, it’s very intimidating.
So, the future of my career is uncertain. My boyfriend’s, on the other hand, is bright. As a computer science major, he’s always been confident that he’ll find a job with relative ease, and as we’ve gotten older this seems like it will be the case. He found a great job this summer where he’ll make more than I’ve ever had at one time. It’s not a computer science job, but he’s a really likable guy, and already one of the best people on his team, and he is already making connections and seeing potential opportunities only a few weeks into the summer. I, on the other hand, with my crappy summer job and vague ideas about the future, feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) inadequate next to him.
With my degrees and interests, I know it might take me longer than it does him to find a stable, enjoyable career. And I know that whatever job I find probably won’t ever be as well-paying as his. And we’ve already talked about the fact that he, as my life partner, should be able to and is willing to support me if I don’t find a good job soon after graduation (or ever). But I’m an independent person. I want a good job. I want to contribute a good percentage to our well-being, even if I never make as much as he does. I want to feel ownership for our success. I want to be able to, in the future, look at our little house and our life and know that it couldn’t have been possible without me.
Writing all this down, I know that a lot of these worries and insecurities are only worries and insecurities. I know rationally that somehow, my life will work out and I’ll get through all the stress and I’ll eventually find a fulfilling job. I also know that the only way to achieve this is to work hard, and keep researching, and put myself out there even when I’d rather hide in my room and binge watch Parks and Recreation. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, and mostly, just take it one day at a time.
Here’s to senior year.