Sometimes the most innocuous things give me qualms about my future. Sure, I am a sophomore, and well accustomed to the dance that is declaring a major.
As friends make plans for studying abroad, or get organized for class registration to roll around again, the group categorized under that horrid word “undecided” lessens before my eyes.
For a lot of students, this indecisiveness is anathema.
So many of us find comfort in our cross-referenced planners, our various to-do lists, our heavy appointment schedule and pros and cons list for important decisions. I will even admit to being one of those people.
Consequently, I ignore the lurking fear of the future until, naturally disastrous as I am, I stumble over the hard truth: I haven’t a clue yet of what to make my life’s work.
Recently, I was in line at the CVS debating between mints or gum and the decision seemed crucial, so I let the woman waiting behind me take my place.
We exchanged pleasantries until she asked if I was a college student.
“Yes, I am,” I replied with a grin.
“I bet you’re ready to be a part of the real world, huh?” she prompted, and my mind rewound.
I must have misheard.
Maybe she was being funny.
It was clear to me she wasn’t, though, and I realized that the polite thing to do was to nod and smile for the sake of conversation.
However, I think she may be crazy. Who, at the age of 19, wants to be an adult soon? I have a “work day” of about seven hours on average if you add up my classes and studying.
My “responsibilities” include writing this column, giving tours to students who I hope will fall in love with Villanova as I did and staying on top of my position in my sorority. When I go home at the end of the day, peeling an apple is usually the height of the culinary mastery that I need to get myself fed.
I can sweep (although my roommate would tell you I’m not that well acquainted with the Swiffer) my five-by-five room in about seven minutes and “clean up” before going to bed that night.
Sometimes my biggest concern of the day is a debate between outlining the next chapter in my textbook or going to the gym to get a workout in.
So I laughed softly and admitted to this stranger that I was really in no hurry. “I mean, I’m still a little vague on what I want to do,” I continued, then felt compelled to explain myself. “I’m not a flake,” I wanted to tell her. “I have plans!”
Instead, though, I went home a little disheartened and a lot confused.
In situations like these, I think I should resort to my childhood dreams, when I used to tell everyone I was going to be a doctor on a horse.
I could not tell you why I thought these things combined equated occupational excellence, and really the idea of me and all that math, science and patience is comical.
I’m aware that not everyone will end up on Wall Street as they think today, or make it through medical school. Nor will they write the next great American novel as they predict.
But am I alone in thinking that it’s better to have something to say when asked than a “I don’t know”?
If you find yourself running into the same walls, here’s my unsolicited opinion. Few people you talk to will ever tell you that in life, they ended up exactly where they thought they would, or that they got the job they thought they would, the promotions they hoped for.
The perfect segue into a different market, a different work environment, a different lifestyle, is a rarity.
In addition, it’s estimated that our generation will have more job changes than previous ones.
Maybe right now all we have to know is where to start, how to work hard, how to take every opportunity we’re given and how to live life with the knowledge that few things are permanent.
Caity Donohue is a sophomore English and secondary education major from Northbrook, Ill. She can be reached at [email protected]