So, what are you going to do with your life?”
If you’re anything like me, this question makes you cringe. You probably get it from extended family members, who you only see in person a few times a year and whose main form of contact is liking every single one of your photos on Facebook. Maybe you get it from your parents’ friends, who also seem to enjoy liking your photos on Facebook (which is why I avoid posting any pictures featuring a red solo cup). In any case, asking the question seems innocuous enough, but for those without a solid academic or career plan, it’s probably one of the easiest ways to induce uncomfortable sweating.
Unfortunately for me, there’s no marketable career related to my most recent hobby: snapchatting bad puns about European Enlightenment philosophers…and Diderot my goodness, isn’t that a shame? I’m also fairly certain that I can’t spend the rest of my life watching “Friday Night Lights” and tearing up over Tim Riggins, another of my frequent activities as of late. I have to figure out something realistic and logical. Sadly, many of my most passionate interests are expensive and recreational (skiing, competitive mac and cheese eating at Blue Talon, splurging on deluxe pedicures so I get the hot rocks treatment), and while I have majors in mind, I have no solid career ideas. Frankly, every time someone asked me about post-graduation plans over the summer, I wanted to Voltaire my hair out.
At a place like the College of William and Mary, it’s easy to feel like everyone else has their life together.
At a place like the College of William and Mary, it’s easy to feel like everyone else has their life together. Personally, with a slew of pre-med friends, I am constantly in rooms full of wannabe-Meredith Greys and Cristina Yangs, people full of drive and big, detailed plans. (Also like Meredith and Cristina, they are flawless, which is another blow to my self-esteem but a benefit for my Instagram photos.)
For me, feeling accomplished means staying at the gym longer than 30 minutes, remembering to floss at least once a week or going a whole day without tripping over a brick. If I manage to do all three, it’s a momentous occasion worthy of rewarding myself with a trip to Wawa. To put things into perspective, it’s 10 a.m., and I’ve already tripped on bricks twice.
So back to the question: What am I going to do with my life? The truth is, I have no idea. The harder truth to accept is that I’m not that worried about it. I’ve gone through fleeting phases of thinking I could be a lawyer (not confrontational enough, dislike the sound of gavels), a doctor (stomach lurches at the sight of blood, more about wanting to meet my own McDreamy than actually practicing medicine) and a teacher (little kids need constant attention, and adolescents are the worst). Instead of feeling guilty over my lack of direction, however, I’ve chosen to embrace it.
So back to the question: What am I going to do with my life? The truth is, I have no idea.
Maybe it’s okay not to have an answer to the question of what you want to do. Maybe it’s okay to take dance classes because it’s college, and when else are you going to learn to have “Moves Like Jagger?” Maybe it’s okay to set little goals, like managing to take out the recycling before you resort to hiding empty boxes of Cheez-Its in the lounge. If you need to see that not everyone has a life plan organized in a Lilly Pulitzer planner, look no further. In fact, I don’t even own a planner. I say yes to things I want to do and no to things I don’t; I take classes that sound interesting and avoid ones that include the words “group work.” I’m open-minded and flexible, and I’m prepared to let the chips fall as they may. The question that used to induce stress and heart palpitations is now one I can answer — what am I going to do with my life? Great question, and I’ll let you know when I do.
Cameron Murphy is a Confusion Corner columnist who wishes her friends enjoyed getting pun-filled Snapchats about Enlightenment thinkers.