Preparing for Life Post-Graduation

Eller PDC Coordinator Student Stories

By Nicole Allport (MIS ’20), Professional Development Associate

Hello to all and especially our seniors- weird times?!

I recently read a quote from the Defining Decade (a great read for anyone interested in the idea of navigating their 20s) that expressed the feelings of being lost in general, but rings especially relevant right now:

“I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean. Like I could swim in any direction, but I can’t see land on any side, so I don’t know which way to go.”

Where are we supposed to swim and how can we know it’s the right direction? For the class of 2020 this is especially difficult. We not only get to navigate uncertainty through the current state of the world, but also the uncertainty in our journey to the next chapter. Up until this point, we’ve had a general outline of expectations for each new transition in addition to the relative end and beginning of each chapter coming our way. We’re now in a place, venturing to the unknown, that has no defined indication of chapter ending or new chapter starting. On top that, factors such as COVID-19, quarantine, and the state of the economy also have no defined chapter ending. Being accustomed to having a general idea of what our next chapter looks like and the corresponding timeline can make it harder to adapt to the idea that we have minimal insight and structure on exactly what our next 6 months, 2 years, 4 years, and beyond will look like.

As we jump into this abyss, it can be exciting (and it should be!) to know that we get to create and curate our lives with far more freedom of choice than we’ve ever had. However, it is also pretty scary- especially right now. Though we have much to focus on through all of these life changes and the darkness surrounding the climate of our world, we also have a silver lining. This combination creates a unique opportunity to capitalize the gifts of perspective, introspection, and for many of us, the greatest gift of all; time.

These circumstances can be used to create the light, tools and skills within us that will guide our path and alter the impact we are able to make during our journeys. Oddly enough, we may look back on this period of time years later with gratitude. Despite the common consensus, these waves may just be what shift our direction to the piece of land we were meant to get to all along. There are an abundance of reasons to feel lost and anxious, but I want to choose to believe we were given an opportunity to take this time to really get to know ourselves, imagine who we want to become and spend this time accelerating the process of becoming that person.

The way we each chose to do that will look and feel different – just as the “land” of each of our destinations. But, that’s really the beauty in it. Taking this time to navigate, get to know ourselves and making little baby steps every day toward who and where we want to be is an experience that might just change it all.

Whether that includes podcasts, journaling, Netflix binging, books, online skills/certificates, meditation, learning every TikTok dance possible, cooking, exercising- anything- the moment is now to dive deep into all of it.

Strange, strange times but also our obscure opportunity to keep swimming 😉 , invest in ourselves, invest in our futures, and put full faith into the idea that the best is yet to come.