It pains me to write this, but until last week, I did not believe that I would be taking the GRE. Actually, until the end of my sophomore year, I thought that GERs and the GRE were the same thing: I simply assumed that people had just confused the last two letters or, if the conversation took place after 11:45 pm, were drunk.
But you know what “they” say about assuming.
As it turns out, it wasn’t you and me that I made an ass of. No no, it was just me. Move over, Charlie Brown. There’s a new blockhead in town.
But I digress.
So there I was, just walking along, minding my own business, when a woman near the bookstore asked me is I was planning on going to graduate school.
Normally, I would have laughed, said hell no, felt like a badass for saying “hell” in a non-biblical context and more or less continued living my life. However, this year for Christmas, my mother bought me three self-help books, an oprah magazine with the section on “discovering who you were meant to be” dog-eared, bookmarked and highlighted, and to round out the trifecta, an application for Starbucks.
I’m not a Vulcan, but it was quite clear to me what my mother was thinking. My life has been mapped out since I was 5: get good grades, take APs, volunteer my time, go to college. My life had been planned out until the age of 21. I’m 20. And for the first time in my life, I don’t know what to do next.
As I listened to the woman describe all the possible career paths I should be considering given my choice of major and how I should have been studding for LSATs and MCATS and the GRE, I became more and more convinced that life after college simply would not exist for me, after all, nothing was left of “the plan.” Or if life did continue, it would consist of me living in a box, on the 405, selling oranges during rush hour.
After that conversation, I spent the better part of a week worrying about all possible dimensions of my box, until finally I called a friend of mine who had graduated from Berkeley about ten years ago. For twenty minutes she listened to me fret about how I didn’t know what I wanted. And then she said the seven little words that I had needed to hear more than anything at that moment (excuse me a moment while I get the wording right).
“You need to calm the fuck down. ”
And so finally, I did. Deep breathe in, crazy, psycho stressor tendencies out.
And it felt so good.
It was so easy for me to get swept up into the craze of grad school and law school and med school that just for a moment I honestly forgot that I had no intention to apply to Harvard Medical.
So maybe I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do after I graduate and maybe my mother wont let me forget it. But what Mama W. doesn’t know is this: I can say, “would you like a grapefruit?” in four different languages, I play well with others, and I have only been banned from one Chuck E. Cheese.
So do yourself a favor and calm down. No one says it on this campus or maybe it’s just not said enough, but it’s ok to not know what you want to do with your life yet. So keep breathing, you’re young. Don’t box yourself in quite yet.