Graduation is now only two weeks away. During these past six years, there were times I really thought this day would never come. I had seemingly trapped myself in reaching my own self-set high expectations, I carved out this great plan for myself and continuously told myself to power through because that the time spent would pay off. As I attempted to finish my double-major and an added option (why, oh why did I do this to myself) I’ve had to balance my work life as well. I’ve always held down at least two part-time jobs to maximize my free-time, and more often than not, have also added some internship or volunteer program on the side. Juggling 3+ commitments became a normal routine for me and some friends have called me crazy, but I would like to call it extremely strong work ethic. Ok – so I may be a little crazy.
Neurosis aside, I would definitely call myself nothing short of a planner. Re-assessing my 5-year plan became somewhat of a nightly practice for me, that would also lead to some sleepless nights so I don’t suggest you to follow in my footsteps, but brick walls are there to show you how badly you want something right? Well, I wanted to succeed so badly. So again, graduation is only two weeks away and it really has come down to some odd sorts of a numbers game: 3 more papers left, 2 finals to take, and 1 job to quit. Wait, what was that last one again?
If you couldn’t already tell, quitting was never on any of my Plan B’s, or Plan C’s even. Quitting felt like a fat “F” that one might get on a test. F stood for failing, flailing, and floundering. No, I was determined to be none of these things. Then one night, during one of my nightly re-assesments, I suddenly came upon a realization that truly shook my years of planning to the core: I’ve never had a summer break. Since the legal working age, I’ve always found myself working several jobs, focused and determined to get a head start on my career. Telling myself that these years of experience would shave off valuable time in getting me that dream job that I’ve always wanted. Six years later, slightly burned out, and with the idea of working full-time approaching, I was alarmingly realizing that the window for me to travel at whim was nearing to a close. How did I get here so fast? I’ve never left a job, with no prospects in sight. I’ve never quit, without a back-up plan. But, I’ve also never given any time for myself.
During your twenties, you’re trying to really make something of yourself. You’re trying to carve your name into the side of some Fortune 500 company you hope to work for. You’re hoping to have your name etched onto a piece of plastic so passerbyers know that this desk is yours. But in life, there comes a time for everything. Patience, is the gatekeeper to opportunity. Some incidents in life happen in multiples: there are times where it’s necessary to put your family first, there are times where saying no does more good than saying yes, there are times where you must forgive in order to let go. However, some incidents in life only happen in windows: there is only one window for you to truly be a student, there is only one window where you have the luxury of your parent’s support, and there is only one window for you to really spend time with your family because time is fleeting. As you get older, you realize that those family vacations have become less frequent, your dad’s grey hairs are getting more prominent, your sister doesn’t just live down the hall from you anymore, and the cliche saying of “life is too short” is almost too true for you to even say.
So before, I dedicate the rest of my life to my career, my ambition, or even to the family that I will begin to build for myself. I’m choosing to dedicate the next several months to myself and the family I have now. Re-focusing on what my true priorities are and focusing on the window I’m already in. Allowing myself to be a child for just a little while longer. To put those Elle Decor magazines aside, and not rush the process of moving out and living in my first big-girl apartment. To laugh appreciatively in those late night conversations with my parents while they’re still just a couple steps away. So as of May 15th, my two weeks are officially in. I may have quit my job, but the next chapter of my life has just started.