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?