I completed my undergraduate education not 20 days ago–with straight A’s, surprisingly. I’ve always asserted that grades don’t define me, but that may have been a coping method for my lack of motivation in the classroom. But of course, we can exceed expectations, if only we push ourselves.
In the last 3 weeks, I’ve felt more pressured than ever to figure out what I’m doing with this part of my life. It’s been such an interesting and eye-opening experience, as I’ve always encouraged fellow students to follow their passions and dreams, regardless of the effort they’ll need to expend, or the money they probably won’t make. As I’ve been shoved in to the “real world,” a quarter early nonetheless, I’m finding just how difficult it is to practice what I preach. Graduating with student loans weighing me down and no clear direction about what career path I want to traverse has tricked me into being motivated more by the money than anything else. And in today’s society, often times, we have to be practical and realize the value money really does have in proclaiming our independence and self-reliance. [Okay, but really, no one is self-reliant.]
Although I feel like I am “selling-out” in my job hunt, I take comfort in knowing that I am still learning. That is the key to personal development and growth [AKA my best friend]. On Thursday, I will be interviewing for a position in a field which I know nothing about. And I’ve never even shown an interest in this type of work. It’s been exhausting debating about whether I should intensely prepare for the interview–and whether I should even interview at all. It’s a little sad to admit that the starting salary is the most attractive part. But as the day has passed, I’ve spun this experience to make it relevant to my personal philosophy. The opportunity to interview is a learning experience in itself. And while I hate to cram and study for something kind of random, at least I will be learning something new, which I might not have otherwise explored.
I dragged myself to Barnes&Nobles to use some books for reference. Come on, I can’t be buying books I don’t really need. I’m broke, remember? I grabbed a book, found a sweet little study spot with an outlet and window view, and settled in to study not 20 days after I finished college.
And then it dawned on me. This is how I have to learn for the rest of my life (assuming I don’t go back to school). If I want to know something new, I have to take it upon myself to find and understand new information, whether that’s in a book, online, from experienced folks, or just getting out there. There are no more classrooms, grades, and professors to hold me accountable. In college, no one made me go to class, study for exams, or write papers. And I believed that was the epitome of motivation and intellectual curiously; that I could choose to get out there and learn, think, dialogue and so much more. But alas, grades still hung above my head and a college environment pushed me forward. Oh, and let’s not forget thousands of dollars spent for tuition. In these early post-grad days, I am learning so much about myself. The real world does that to you, I suppose. And even though it’s pretty scary, it’s also really awesome.
This is it. I do what I want! According to the parameters of my values, opportunities, effort, society, etc anyway. But still! :P