Thursday, April 7, 2011

Apparently I've Got Life Figured Out (???)

I don't know when this happened. I swear, yesterday I was six years old. Now suddenly I'm 22 and I'm graduating from college in 16 days. Uh...what? Seriously, I don't know how this happened.

Preparing to graduate from college is even worse than graduating from high school. When you're a senior in high school, you constantly get bombarded with "So where are you going to college?" or "What are you planning to study?" When you're a senior in college it's "So what are you going to do in the real world?" and "Got any jobs lined up?" and maybe even "So what are you doing with your life?" Four years of college means I have an answer to these questions? It takes a lot of effort not to respond with just this face:

I generally have an answer, but I've come to a point where I'm almost afraid to give it. It's probably just me, my neuroses, and my tendency to be far too hard on myself, but even though I'm feeling good about my life plans, I sometimes feel like people won't like my answer.

Coming into college, I knew already that I wanted to be a psychology major. So for four years, I was telling people without hesitation that once I graduated, I would be going to graduate school for a PhD, because that's what you do when you're a psych major. Otherwise you're not really qualified to do much more than smile politely when friends, family, acquaintances, and maybe even complete strangers come up to you and say "Wow, you're a psych major? I've got this friend...let me tell you about them..." and then rattle off a long list of "symptoms." Inevitably they will then say, with great concern, "so do you think my friend is a psychopath? Should I be worried?"

Though I'm not a licensed practitioner, to any of you who may now have a friend in mind and want an answer to that psychopath question: No. Your friend is most likely not a psychopath. Psychopathy isn't really even a diagnosis. Antisocial Personality Disorder is, but I don't really want to get into the whole medical students' disease thing again.

Anyway, due to something like a midlife crisis (or two or three) this year, I'm no longer planning on a PhD in psychology. I'm now planning on going into Occupational Therapy. This is not where I feel people may not like my plans. That comes in when I have to explain that I'm taking a year more or less off before I continue on.

There is a reason for this. Because I am a psych major, I had enough lab based classes that I was not required to take biology or anatomy at my school. Unfortunately, the program I really want to get into for OT requires both of those classes. So I'll have to take those, plus two other introductory OT courses before I can be in the program. Additionally, they only accept in the fall term, so even though I could take the classes this summer and be done with it, I'll have to wait until the next fall term, because I missed the application deadline this year. You know...because I was in the middle of a mental breakdown and couldn't decide what to do with my life.

I feel like this answer may be disappointing to some people, because I have this idea in my head that to many people "a year off" means "I'm never going back to school and I won't be doing anything further with my life." Especially when my original plan was a PhD. Like I said before, it's probably just my neuroticism kicking in, but it's a tough thought to shake. I'm trying, but it's proving quite difficult. I just do my best to explain enough that I really sound like I have a plan. Adults like plans. And they like to see that us young adults have plans too.

I really just can't believe that I'm graduating. I feel like I've been in college forever, but like I just got here yesterday. It's a weird phenomenon. It's freaking me out. It's especially weird to know that my cap and gown are sitting on my desk right now. Staring at me. If they don't quit, I might have another nervous breakdown before I even get to wear the darn things. And that would just be disappointing. I mean really, who doesn't want to wear a shapeless sack of a gown and a square on top of their head?


  1. Hahaha, oh man Joanna, I sure am going to miss your college posts! They are so relatable - and I could definitely relate to you on the most miserable question someone could ask a freshly graduated college kid, "what are you going to do with your life?" Ugh! I was laughing so hard when you were talking about that, because it is oh too true.

    Grab yourself a sponge and soak up as much college life as you can before you are let out into the real world. Because let me tell you, the real world can be a cold cold place - so make sure you bring yourself a blanket.

  2. first of all, congrats on your graduation.. ^^
    I think you just have to do what's right for you
    It's cliche, but it'll work, somehow... ha3
    Good luck to you though~

  3. I feel ya sista. I just graduated 2 years ago (it feels like yesterday) and I hated how many people asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! Especially because I didn't know...

  4. @Amie, Well, from here I'll just have to keep up on my pot-college posts! Haha. I'm sure I'll have plenty of craziness going on after I leave school! Starting with a trip to Europe in May that should be really fascinating.

    @Inggrid, Thanks so much! I appreciate the well wishes!

    @Julie, Nice to know I'm not the only one who hates that life question. Haha.

  5. Hey, it's a milestone! It is worth a great celebration. Congratulations! Life can wait. :)

  6. Congrats on the graduation. Literally took me 7 years to get my bachelors. God I hated school.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. @Annah, Thank you! I'm pretty excited about it. Haha. And I'm very much looking forward to a year "off" from school. I've been going to school for 17 years of my life. It's time to be done. For a while anyway. Haha. You have a great weekend too! :)

  8. Oh Joanna... you should really be proud of yourself for sticking with college and actually graduating. Adults will always want to hear an exact plan, and no one understands more than me when it comes to disappointing adults with your plans. I dropped out of college after just one semester, got MARRIED at 19, was poor for many years, and am just now getting respect from my parents because I am financially stable and back in school. Parents may have an idea of what is best for you, but at the end of the day YOU know what's best for YOU, no one else. Adults will intimidate you with their condescending questions and frowns, but just know it's your life, you are the only person you have to please, and you don't have to make excuses for anyone. Go with your gut- take a year off- and just take it day by day. Good luck!!!! :)

  9. @PB, Thanks! I plan on celebrating a lot! lol

    @Kristen, Thank you so much! I really appreciate your encouragement. I am proud to be graduating. It's been a long road, but I can see the goal at the end! Haha. :)

  10. My girlfriend is a psych major ending her sophomore year, and she is always juggling ideas around of what she wants to do with her life. I'm a business major, but I want to major in philosophy but I think doing so would just be shooting myself in the feet. The unknown future is so taunting.

  11. The future is absolutely terrifying. But I'm feeling a little better now that I'm fairly certain of my plans. Could you at least minor in philosophy? I mean, I would say just go for the major, but obviously I'm not going to say I'm the best with college/career advice. Haha. Good luck figuring it all out! :)