Volunteer My Future

The future is so close, it’s scary. I should really be just glad for the present moment I’m in because there’s no true way of predicting what might occur, but I’m a planner. I like to know what I’m doing well in advance, especially if it entails my life.

So next May, 2018, I will be graduating from college. That in of itself is crazy to think about. In my head, I have expectations for myself at 21 years old to know exactly what I want to be doing and how to get there.

But I also know myself and I am very indecisive. I have so many ideas and interests that scatter around me that it’s hard to pin one down. Especially one that makes sense and can help me earn a living.

For a while, I really planned on going to graduate school just because education is all I’ve known thus far. It’s been my all-encompassing career. I know if I study hard enough, I can accomplish good things, earn decent grades. But I don’t know what I would actually study at a higher level, nor am I a fan of lectures with only two graded exams determining my final mark. I have several classes like that this semester, and midterms week was some of the worst anxiety I’ve experienced. If I don’t have to deal with that and spend more money on education, I’d rather not.

On the other hand, while it makes sense to just find a job immediately and start getting some experience in the workplace, I don’t know how I feel about that either. I’m so young, and I feel like if I started working, then I’d lose major opportunities to just be in my early 20’s and see some of the world. While I appreciate (and need) steady internships over the summer (please hire me) to get me through, I don’t see myself sitting in an office with a 9-5 position. I cannot handle that. My productivity rarely turns on like clockwork and settles into that type of monotonious routine.

So what am I thinking of doing after I graduate? Well, even though my boyfriend and I are the same age (he is several months older), he is going the traditional 4 years of undergrad, so I will have a year with him still in school and I’m just…there. I’d rather not just sit around and feel unmotivated, and I want to move forward with him by my side.

I have considered in the past volunteering abroad. It really interests me to go somewhere out of comfort zone and help those in need. Of course there are people right here that need help, too, but including the travel element allows for more cultural experience and exploration, touching the lives of people usually out of reach.

I already know I want to join the Peace Corps in the future, but again, I want to do that with my partner in crime. This travel I would want to spread my wings and do something meaningful. Whether that is teaching English abroad or doing missionary work, I have always felt the urge to make my impact on the world one not of fame, but just of good. I talk so often of the importance of taking action and making a difference, but I feel I mostly just talk.

So I guess this idea is similar to that of a gap year, mostly designated for high school seniors working or traveling before going to college. Mine would just be after my college senior year before I join my boyfriend wherever he may end up.

And no, if you’re wondering, this isn’t me sacrificing my dreams after a year of humanitarian work to settle for my boyfriend’s dreams. Personally, I don’t see myself taking a traditional career route. I am drawn to free-lance work, entrepreneurship, making a career out of my diverse mix of passions and design a life to fulfill my individual purpose in this world. Not a great answer for “What do you want to do after college?” but fancy titles or six-figure salaries don’t entice me. Happiness entices me. Peace and comfort entice me. You do you if your happiness is in the corporate world, no judgment of that, but that isn’t my forte.

If you gain anything from my musings today, I hope you know that you don’t have to limit yourself with expectations or boundaries for your life. You are free to go on your own path, listen to your instincts, and see where they take you. You don’t have to settle just because what you really love “won’t get you anywhere,” “is impossible,” or “plain impractical.” Your life isn’t meant to please or compete with others. And just because your definition of success and happiness may look different from everybody else’s doesn’t make it invalid. As best said by the lovely Steve of Blue’s Clues, “You can do anything that you want to do.”

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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