I recently finished a book that I really enjoyed called The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out; it’s Lena Dunham approved (https://twitter.com/lenadunham). The title character, Nate, is a somewhat insufferable Harvard-educated intellectual navigating his way through post-grad life in Brooklyn, writing freelance and taking odd jobs while writing The Next Great American Novel. Nate’s somewhat purposeless existence combined with the colorful characterization of his life in Hipsterland left me with a strange mixture of anticipation and outright dread upon finishing the book.
As the countdown to my final year of college begins, I can’t help but feel preoccupied with my post-grad aspirations. Although I lack all marketable skills and am highly unemployable, the thought of going straight to grad school (or law school if my parents have any say) just sort of bums me out. Even though I’ve known for some time that eventually, I want to do some kind of foreign service, the path to that future is terrifyingly uncertain. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of Girls, but I’m becoming increasingly tempted not to look for a job or apply to more school and just figure it out as I go. The thought of resigning myself to some entry-level desk job almost seems worse than committing myself to three more years of school. I really just want to be with my friends, living in an overpriced city apartment, dating guys I will never marry, just enjoying my directionless youth. Is that too much to ask?
At nearly every family gathering or dinner party this summer, some relative or friend of the family has asked The Question: So, what are you going to do when you graduate? I don’t really resent them asking; I understand their interest and excitement in a life that is still open to possibilities in ways that their own lives no longer are. For a while, I would tell people I was considering law school, prepping for the LSAT. Then, probably in an effort to piss off my somewhat overprotective parents, I began telling people I was planning to work for an NGO overseas. Soon after I finished my internship with my local congresswoman, I was sure come next year, I would be a Congressional Aide. The thing is, all of these are legitimate possibilities; as scary as that is, it’ also kind of amazing.
The only comparable situation I can think of is the transition from high school to college, but even that falls short. Although I didn’t know what city I would be living in or what I would be studying, at least I was secure in the knowledge that I was going to be in college somewhere. This feels significantly different. For now, my post-grad plans remain a huge question mark. As camp as it sounds, my future holds endless possibilities and that is both terrifying and liberating. Although I am beyond excited to embark on my “big girl life,” for now, all I can do is get ready for my final year at BC—one that will hopefully be unparalleled.