Remember all those posts I was making last summer about how I was stressed out for my final year? Well it has come and gone, and I'm still not really sure how I feel about it.
I've always been the person who plans out everything meticulously. Whether it's a birthday party or a communications strategy, I'll always spend more energy planning something than actually carrying it out. Graduation was the same way. The past three years, I've had a plan about what I'd do throughout college- what clubs and activities I'd join, what internships I'd hold and when I'd graduate.
Needless to say, not all of those panned out. That's the scariest part about graduating; sometimes it feels like the only part of that I ever had control over was what classes I took. Now, even that's over.
A professor the other day told me that my resume reads more like someone who would be a producer than a reporter. If you know me, you know becoming a reporter is what I've been pushing during my entire time in college. That's when it hit me that graduating a year early might not be as lucrative as it had sounded in my head. All the big senior year internships ended up floating past me. I spend this past year focused on work and my studies, rushing to get out on time, instead of doing the "traditional" final semester strategy of only taking classes part-time and interning most days.
Last night, I realized that while this actually really sucks, it's kind of a done deal. It's up to me now to push a little harder and go out and make things happen for myself.
Sometimes, I think the hardest part of getting wrapped up in so many plans is that sometimes things happen that you can't control. I wish I could say college was the best three years of my life, but I don't think that's true. I grew and learned a lot, but there were things that made college possibly the hardest time of my life and if I could do it all over again, I won't. Maybe all that would have been negated if I'd spent a fourth year at American University. I could have graduated with two degrees, instead of just two majors, or picked up a minor in Econ, like I'd initially wanted to do.
It's easy to focus on the negative. Recently, I've noticed that I spend way too much time dwelling on the past and things that can't be changed. Every time summer rolls around, I get caught in a spiral of thinking about what I could have done better during the school year- papers I should have started earlier, office hours appointments I shouldn't have skipped, internships I should have applied for- and while in the past this has motivated me, now I just have to learn to accept it and move on. Nothing is ever perfect, or even as perfect as we want it to be.
This is going to sound so cliche, but I've realized that life's journey works out in funny ways, and sometimes you just have to hold on and trust that the universe has your best interests at heart.
Looking back, I've accomplished so many things. I hosted a college radio show, interviewed Michael Phelps, wrote about women in politics and energy policy, was the Managing Editor for a project that was featured on NBCWashington.com and brought light to a variety of stories involving the #MeToo movement and created my own company.
If you told me three years ago that any of those things would have happened, I wouldn't have believed you. Not because I didn't think I was capable of doing them, but because none of those were on my plan. When I came to AU, I thought I had everything planned out. I would join the TV News team, every semester I'd be on the Dean's List, I was going to intern at the Washington Post and Politico ... none of those things happened, and that's okay. Maybe it would have come together this year, but I'll never know, and I can't waste my life thinking about what could have been.
So now that you've read my ramblings about everything this year, here are my final pieces of collegiate advice:
So go forth and prosper or whatever that phrase is. I'm going to stay here and spend the next hour on LinkedIn trying to figure out my life.