“Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.” – Booth Tarkington
After graduating this summer, I couldn’t have been happier to say farewell to tight term paper deadlines and the stress of reading an entire book per class per week. But now that the Fall semester is beginning for other students, the nostalgia is hitting me hard.
I love school and learning. Shopping for cute school supplies. Prepping my backpack with all the semester’s essentials. Putting together a new Fall wardrobe. But, even with a Masters degree, I continually ask myself, “What’s next?” I’ve always set high goals for myself, and I’m not ready to find a stopping point in my academic career. Unfortunately, I don’t want to take out more student loans, so this has to be put on pause for now.
Throughout both of my degrees, I struggled with the idea of finding a place to fit in with my career. I never knew if I belonged in the academic world or the corporate world. I questioned where my skills would be better suited and continue to do so.
I feel most at home when I’m writing, blogging, and working on new, creative projects. Though there are people who manage to quit their day jobs to travel the world and pursue their passions, I don’t think it makes sense for me. Not because of pessimism, but because, realistically, I couldn’t see myself taking that leap.
But if I don’t belong on an island spending my days working remotely and typing away to the steady rhythm of beach waves, then where do I belong? I felt like I had a place not too long ago. I felt like everything was right, but I guess we get tossed out of our comfort zones sometimes. I don’t like struggling to find my place. Even though I find it uncomfortable and challenging, everything still happens for a reason. I assume this sort of misplacement recurs because I’m meant to grow out of my comfort zone at this given moment.
Maybe now that my life is undergoing a huge change – I no longer require instruction from an institution – it’s time to create my own Fall semester and semesters to come. At first, it seemed like a scary thought, but now, it actually sounds liberating. I get to make my own rules, pick up old hobbies I didn’t have time for, read a book for pure enjoyment, work on my novel – the one I actually want to write – and get it published, learn a new subject, and take those vacations I couldn’t with a demanding school schedule.
Instead of trying to find a place to fit, I think I’m better off making my own place. There’s more power in that anyway.