Today I was on the phone with my mom talking about graduation weekend. I sat at my desk looking over the graduation schedule and for the first time there was no pit in my stomach, no "this is really it" feelings of anxiety. I'm at peace with the fact that college is ending soon and it's time for me to take the next step.
Lately parents on campus tours have been asking me if I have a job lined up after graduation. I know many of them would hope that all students manage to get a full-time position in their field right out of college. And for some, that is the case. And while I understand the value of following that path, that's not the path for me. Yes, I applied to some local "real" jobs, like positions in marketing at various non-profits and in web design. In the end, that is not where I'm going to end up this May.
Last December I did something all college students dream of: I had a beer with my favorite professor. Jon Hyde, the film professor in the MJD department, met with Derek, Brian, and myself during finals week after our work was done and before he left for a trip to Malaysia (he'll be back for the fall semester). Since he wouldn't be here for our last semester, he gave us the post-grad advice we had
wanted needed an adult to give us: travel, follow your passions, don't settle.
This year I've taken a step back and thought seriously about what I want in life, what I truly value and want to focus my energy on, and how I can do those things. While I feel ready to graduate college, I can't imagine leaving my friends. I knew that living in Burlington was a must, at least for the summer. So, before I even had a job in the area, I signed a sublease on an apartment with three friends: Shawna, Ben, and Trevor.
I also thought about what I've enjoyed the most during college, both academically and experientially. Three pieces immediately came to mind: photography/my major, being a mentor/working with kids, and traveling.
So, how do I make those things work, and possibly together? My darkroom photography professor, Jordan Douglas, told me about a summer camp that's located at Champlain College. I applied, had a phone interview, and today I was told I'll be working as a TA for film and photography classes for campers age 13-18 this June-August.
While this employment is only temporary, it's something I'm incredibly passionate and excited about. Hopefully I'll find some part-time work to fill the rest of the summer but this is what makes me happy. It also gives me a few more months to figure out what's next. The fall is still a mystery, but that is just fine with me. I'm in no rush to stop exploring. I still have grand plans for traveling, photography projects, and doing what I believe makes a difference both for myself and the people around me.