As I prepare for graduation, it becomes clear what is expected of me. Teachers, friends, relatives and complete strangers reiterate these expectations by asking the same types of questions…
“What do you want to do with your degree?”
“Do you have any jobs lined up?”
“Where are you going to live?”
These are all valid questions. While many are asking out of interest, let’s be honest and admit that many are asking so they can quietly judge your response and compare it to the societal standard that’s been established.
It’s tough to ignore the expectations of the world around you, especially if you’re about to do something a little risky. This could be moving to a foreign country to teach English or moving to New York City to climb the corporate ladder.
Rest assured, there will always be someone there to tell you that what you want is unrealistic or naïve. However, just because it’s impossible for them, doesn’t mean it is for you.
Up until this point in our lives, we’ve had someone telling us exactly what steps we need to take in order to be successful: work hard, finish high school, go to college, get your degree and, finally, get a good job. However, I don’t think any of these things, not even a diploma, can guarantee a happy and successful life.
What represents success to one person may not for another. Many people find the utmost fulfillment in being a stay at home parent, because it means they get to watch their children grow up everyday, without missing a beat. Others may find happiness in working full-time at Subway, because it means they’ll one day have enough money to go to Paris.
Different people measure success differently. If everyone does exactly what is expected of them, they may never live their ideal lives.
Growing up, my dad repeatedly told me that it doesn’t matter what you do in life, as long as you keep moving forward. For me, that means traveling, writing and coming home to the people I love.
If it weren’t for these past four years at UWSP, I would not have known it is these things that keep me moving forward, and for that I am thankful.