Four Years Later, What Now?


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Graduation caps thrown in the air

After four years of crying, stressing, and sweating, I am finally graduating. The first of my family to do it, I should feel great, but why don’t I?

I’m more scared than happy, why am I so scared of the unknown that I think it’s going to attack me and stab me in the back?

I fear that the future will mirror my past because we are born to believe that history repeats itself. I don’t want to be the person that claims college was a waste of time and money because things didn’t end up in my favor.

I’m scared that things won’t go the way I hoped they would and that history will repeat itself, that I’m going to fail unless I have a plan.

I put my blood, sweat, and tears into this, and yet I have no idea what I’m doing. I was always the girl who had her life planned out. I planned to go to college at 14-years-old. I’ve been planning my future since I was a child. Sure, when you’re a kid you don’t know much, and you say you want something at one moment and then, later on, change your mind, but it wasn’t like that for me. I knew since then, I wanted a career.  

My career changed as I grew, I wanted to be a teacher, a nurse, a model, an artist, a singer, and now a journalist.

Now here I am, four years after graduating high school and I’m finally earning the Bachelor’s Degree I so desperately wanted. Yet, I don’t have a plan for after college. 

Do I go straight to working in the Journalism field? Do I go back to school and earn my master’s? Do I take a break and just try to figure it all out as time goes on? 

That’s the thing though, I’m not a “take some time to figure it out” kind of girl, I have to have a plan or I feel lost.  

Though I’m not sure if I’m even ready to graduate, for years I was, I couldn’t wait till I earned my degree, and now that I am, I have no idea what I’m going to do. 

It feels like just yesterday I was starting my very first day of this journey, and now I’m preparing to walk across the stage, or field, or whatever the plan is for graduation.

Everything went by so fast I barely had time to appreciate and enjoy my years in college. I stressed myself out the whole time, I worked extremely too hard and was way too hard on myself. I literally work best when under pressure, that’s saying something. They say these are the best years of your life. I can’t say the same for me.

I freak out about my future every single day, the same way my mother freaked out when she dropped me off at school for the very first time. I’m mostly afraid of disappointing her, all I ever wanted was to make her proud.

Now time has dropped me off to a place called my future, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing here. I wish someone could just tell me, point their fingers, and say to me, “This is your plan, this is how you’ll get there, and this is how the rest of your life is going to happen.” I wish someone would give me a sign, but there’s no easy way or right way.

We live in a time where people in their 20’s are supposed to all of sudden have their lives together, I don’t want to be the girl that has done nothing with her life while her friends are over here building their futures. It’s like I’m happy for them but sad at the same time because I’m so lost.

I don’t even know who I am at this point, I involved into this whole new Amber, which isn’t a bad thing. I grew up. I know where I came from and where I want to head. I just don’t know how I’m going to get there. I wish life would just slow down.

I have experience, I have a resume, I have a job, it’s not like my life is over. But I spent the last four years of my life, spending thousands of dollars, without an actual plan. I, Amber Perez, have no plans for after college. 

I may not have a plan, but at least I got a backup plan, right? If journalism sadly doesn’t work out, there’s always becoming a teacher. I’ve always enjoyed being around kids. I have experience. I can be an English teacher for young kids. 

I’m not ashamed. I’m not a failure. I was the first in my family to graduate college, that’s a huge accomplishment itself. So since I’m someone who must have a plan, I guess my new plan for my future is to just live my life and figure out a plan as time goes. I mean, I’m only 21, I have time.