A PR professor at OSU gave myself and several other upperclassmen some profound words of advice. She basically told us that at 21, 22 or whatever age we graduate, we will have no idea who we are. I know that may seem a bit harsh or pessimistic, but I think her point was that in our 20s we still have a lot of growing and living to do. The uncertain, up and down roller coaster that is our twenties is miserable and magical all at once. It is unplanned, uncharted, scary, exciting, exhilarating and crazy fun!
The same professor who gave us these profound words told us that she has changed so much since her early twenties and at that time she wasn’t fully aware of who she was. When I heard her say this, it was like music to my ears. As a graduating senior, I didn’t have a five year plan. Yes, I had goals and dreams and ideas for how I could get there but I also had a lot of uncertainty on my plate during my last semester of college. The pressure of having everyone from distant relatives to strangers on the street asking the daunting question “So what’s next?” started to add up. Needless to say, I was more than a little stressed a year ago.
Here’s what I have learned. You don’t have to have it all planned out! If someone is telling you that after college graduation, you need this detailed, thorough plan, well politely disagree. Like I said, it’s great to have goals for yourself and ideas for the future. However, if you don’t have a five year plan, don’t freak. If you don’t have a plan for the next year, still don’t freak. I promise that it will be okay.
Life has a way of magically working itself out. You don’t have to know all the hows, whys, ifs and whens. I have learned the importance of just going with the flow and stepping out on a whim. This has really been hard for the anal planner inside of me, but I’m learning. As long as I stay honest with myself and stay true to my passions and dreams, I have no doubt that I will get out of life exactly what I desire.
So have fun! Trust the process of life. Go in the direction of your dreams and don’t let other people’s negativity EVER EVER stop you. Keep going! Run your race your way. Color outside of the lines. Surround yourself with dreamers and achievers. Set goals, put in the work to achieve them and prepare for life to throw some unexpected curve balls. If you forget everything else, remember this bit of advice…….stress less and live more. After all, you are only in your 20s once. Enjoy the ride!
Taylor Swift’s song “22” describes everything I just wrote about really well! Give it a listen even if you’re not much of a Swift fan.