As a college senior I am sure I am not alone in thinking that these two words have become the most terrifying, stressful, and frankly just plain irritating phrase that has been bombarding me from all directions recently.
Even for those who are sure of what they would like to pursue, the answer must be tough, because the economy and job market don’t seem so sure that there will be an opportunity for them to do so. And for those of us who aren’t sure, “I’m still figuring that out,” doesn’t seem to satisfy or impress the interrogators when graduation is a mere 100 days away.
Usually I would make something up. Whichever of my most recent life-plot musings seemed like it would please the asker most. But as of today, I am finally excited for someone to ask me that question, because as of today, I finally have a concrete, in-motion plan.
This summer I will be setting out on a trip to Costa Rica to become certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and then actually teaching abroad.
This is something I had thought about for the past year or so. A few months ago, I told my dad to brace himself for yet another one of my brilliant life plans, which are proposed to him and my mom on about a bi-weekly basis. When I told him wanted to teach English abroad after I graduated, his response confirmed I might be onto something.
“Well if you’re going to go off and be a gypsy, at least you have a way to support yourself while you do it.”
To some people that might not sound like the go-ahead, but coming from the one who has always been the first to put my ideas in check (and for good reason since they are usually ridiculously impulsive and unrealistic), this was overwhelming consent.
So I began further research on the best means follow through on my plan, and for once, instead of just talking about it, I took the initiative and put my idea into action.
I’m not naïve enough to think I’ve figured it all out. I’m unsure of what career I hope to find myself in 25 years from now, or maybe even five years from now, but I’m not sure that’s really the most pressing matter.
Someone whom I respect very much recently told me the most important thing isn’t to start in the perfect place or in the perfect long-term career; it’s just to start somewhere and to always keep moving forward at full speed from that point. I was struck. What if we’re all so concerned with trying to figure out how to get where we should be 10, 20 and 30 years from now, that we are too afraid to pick somewhere to start now, in case it’s the wrong place?
In reality, the “then what?” question probably won’t be going away anytime soon. In fact it will probably be looming overhead for my entire life. But, for now, I’m happy to have picked somewhere to start.
So to begin, Costa Rica. Well, completing this semester of college, then Costa Rica. And after that, full speed ahead, wherever that may be.