“You look so much more confident – even more than last semester,” my career coach Jodi announces one afternoon at the end of my second spring semester, as we bask in the sunlight of her new office window.
I smile back, knowing that it’s undeniably, inescapably, and unapologetically true. I am more confident, but more than that: I am more comfortable, I am more sturdy in my bones, more – effectively – happier than at any point in my life. Because the ‘today’ is all that really matters.
But that doesn’t mean I have all the answers figured out. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
When I start to unpack my various interests and all of the accomplishments in personal growth I’ve made just this year, I unravel even myself. Sometimes all that ‘living in the moment’ mojo can create this upwelling, this overwhelming confusion as to who I really am on the inside, once the noise of the outside world quiets down. Too much instant gratification and overstimulation can drown even the most carpe diem of us all.
Which is how I start to feel once I being to unpack my semester. Closing down the screens, de-poster-fying my dorm room walls, exiting out of Blackboard one more time – it’s hard to wrap my mind around where I was three months ago, three weeks ago even.
Three months ago, I was learning to live in a world of growth, starting to ask myself questions on how I fit into the larger mosaic of life.
Three weeks ago, I was still riding the wave of ‘DC Networking Week’ (sponsored by the OHIO Alumni Association), after spending a marvelous 48 hours in one of my favorite cities in the U.S. and meeting high-achieving Bobcats along the way.
Three hours ago, I was still wondering what do to with the rest of my life.
And I’ll probably always still be wondering, because life is a lesson not a singular sentence – and we all must learn the language of mystery, nuance, adventure, adversity, and unknown – foreign to our tongues of complacency as it may seem.
“You have choices,” one of my anthropology professors told me on my tour de advice (but really more like soul-searching) this afternoon. I asked a handful of my trusted advisors here at university what I should ultimately be asking myself: Where do I see myself in 2 years?
Yet in reality, I don’t know where I’ll be in two months, sometimes even in two days. I should be filling that empty space with the sights, sounds, and people that I love – and filling in the punctuation marks and dotted i’s at the end – right?
Because I can make all the pro-con lists I want, even stick them up on all of the free wall space I have, but it’s the tug at the heartstrings that should get to all of us. Get us to the core.
Unraveling the mysterious, defining the unknown, answering the voice inside yourself that asks why not: that’s what I’ve valued this semester.
Until next month (in Cambodia!),
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