By: Manveetha Muddaluru
The feeling of being in a summer slump combined with the fact that I didn’t use my valuable free time to figure out what I’m going to do after I graduate has created some stress in my life. The thought of graduating from university used to excite me until last week when I realized that I have less than eight months to make some big decisions.
If you know me, you know that I have a hard time deciding. I’m the person who can’t choose an ice cream flavour and holds up the line due to my indecisiveness and then apologizes way too many times. So, figuring out what I want to do after I graduate hasn’t been smooth sailing. Should I travel for a while? Do I have enough money saved up to travel? Should I work? If yes, what kind of jobs should I be applying for and when? Or should I listen to my parents and continue to do more school in hopes that I’ll figure it all out later?
These questions have been on my mind for awhile now and with the time constraint I’ve set for myself, my obsession with making the “right” decision has been at an all-time high. Although I can make a pros and cons list for all the different paths I can take, it’s hard for me to envision what my future after graduation is going to look like when there are a lot of unknown variables. Not knowing what the end destination can be a fun journey, but if you don’t know where to even start and are bogged down by all the details and obstacles ahead of you, it can be daunting to even try finding your way out of this maze.
I’m not sure if other students entering their final year are experiencing the same feelings, but now more than ever, everything just seems to be all over the place and somewhat falling apart. Nothing seems to be certain, and even though it’s easy to say “everything will just work itself out,” “this too shall pass,” or “just go with the flow,” I can’t help but wonder if maybe I wouldn’t be stuck in this state of uncertainty if I did some things differently during my undergrad and high school.
For me personally, these feelings are stronger now as I am entering into my fifth year because I see many of my friends who finished their undergrad degrees in four years moving onto bigger and better things, whether it’s a job, doing a master’s, or travelling. Staying for a fifth year, I feel as though I’ve somehow fallen behind in life, even though I know I would have graduated with a degree from a program I didn’t like. I’d probably be even more confused than I currently am if I hadn’t switched into a program that I love and gain the confidence to pursue my interests.
These thoughts have been on my mind for the past few weeks and feeling lost and hopeless in my own head has been isolating. But after finally making the decision to speak to others about what I’ve been experiencing, I was reminded that life isn’t a contest or race and that I shouldn’t be measuring my successes based on anyone’s standards but my own or comparing my achievements to someone else’s. There is no “right” decision when it comes to what I decide to do after I graduate because after all, the future is still unwritten.
Manveetha Muddaluru blogged about her student experience for the Student Success Centre from 2018 to 2019.