When I got to college my freshman year I had a plan. I was going to major in Strategic Communications, and get out with an entry level job with benefits, that allowed me to travel and meet successful individuals who I could brag about having cocktails with to my family and friends back home.
At first, this plan seemed like what I wanted. I loved (and still do) being at OU, and I loved (& still do enjoy) my program , but slowly, I started noticing that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t grasp exactly what path I was on, or where I was going, or especially if I was going to be happy with where I was going.
See, in the world of Public Relations, there are many different careers you can try out until you find the right one, the one you want to settle into. At this point in my time here at OU, I have experienced and/or heard lectures on almost every one of these options. Which is truly spectacular; but I have begun to realize that my interests are many.
I’m very good at social media, in fact, I run a low-key Instagram account for my dog and her fans (check her out @ellie_thecorgiofinsty, you won’t regret it, she’s kind of amazing/a big deal).
I’ve been told that I’m a great party planner (for many of my friends, I have become their trusted DJ). In general, I love to schedule things, and I’m good at it. Organization is something I consistently have to stay on top of, and slowly but steadily it has become a skill set of mine.
I’m a wonderful writer, something I have known since I was young. In fact, halfway through my freshman year, I picked up a double major in Creative Writing, a career I had been set on for many years throughout junior high and high school, and I love it.
Let’s rewind a moment and go back to my last paragraph.
My freshman year I picked up a double major. You might be thinking, so do you hate yourself orrr….? Yes. Yes I guess you could say that, because this is probably one of the most difficult goals I have chosen to chase after. Hours upon hours of writing papers, reading, and studying at the library is not exactly what I wanted for myself, but I wouldn’t trade going back for anything, not after all the doors I have opened up. Although, I guess you could say that all those doors are why I’m here.
Where? Well, I’m stuck, you see. I’m frozen in fear over what my life may become in the next few years; and I know I’m not alone.
They say that the sophomore slump is real, and although I completely back that theory up (as a few of my friends have caught this ailment), for me it means something much different.
I feel caught under the mass amounts of pressure that I feel from every direction possible. All of these options that I have for my life seem wonderful for different reasons, but trying to pinpoint what you actually want with your life is a challenge.
Although this may sound slightly pretentious (hear me out) at times, it is difficult to be going to one of they most prestigious journalism schools in the country. You meet so many talented, brilliant, hard-working individuals, all of who know exactly what they want to do with their life. And then there’s us. The ones that look at the future and cringe in fear because holy shit I have make choice A, B, and C to get to this specific place that I need to be at three years from now, while person A, B, and C have already made those choices.
How are we supposed to make all these decisions on top of a rigorous class schedule along with the three to five to ten involvements that we need to be in to build our resumes along with the jobs we have to work in order to pay for a tuition (that is, in my opinion, completely & ridiculously high), all in the end to question whether or not we’ll get into grad school or that desired job field?
I know it may seem like I’m over-thinking things, but this is the reality.
Every decision we make, every grade we receive, seems to effect where in our lives we are three, two, one year(s) from now, and this fear can be overwhelming at times.
But you know what helps? Knowing that you aren’t alone.
As I get older, I have come to realize that many of my friends are in the same boat as I am. We slowly grow out of that dream-like-state that we carried with us from high school that college is all fun and games and finding out exactly the path you need to be on (not saying that OU hasn’t done a fabulous job helping me with that, because they have), but in all actuality, life is much more complex.
You have finances and relationships to build, and five meetings a week you have to worry about being on time for, and graduating on time with another major or a minor, or a certificate while also building a resume that will attract employers and get them to hire you.
Life is much more than partying every weekend with your friends or putting pressure on yourself to find “The One,” or skating by and doing nothing with your major and expecting the world to hand it all to you.
All those relationships, all that balance between school and having fun, is a full-time commitment. From the moment I wake up, to the moment I sleep, I am fully committed to the obligations I need to fulfill, whether that be spending that quality time with your significant other, to memorizing vocabulary words for your foreign language exam, to networking among professionals within my field.
Eventually, everyone grows to realize that life is this full-time commitment; and eventually you begin to realize that you are not alone in this commitment.
Sometimes we simply forget that while it’s important to think about and prepare for our future, it’s also important to focus on the now. Yes, the future is absolutely horrifying, and yes, going to sleep will not dissolve you of the fact that tomorrow is another day closer to that future, but the fact is that all of us are in the same boat. Whether we want to face it or not, it’s coming, so we may as well make the best of what we have now, and focus on tomorrow.
Don’t forget that energy you finally got back from your 4 hour night of sleep is precious. Focus it where it is necessary, and for the rest of the time, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that watching that episode of The Office, is totally okay.