That Thing Called The Future


I’m scared. I am absolutely terrified of the future. 

A few days before New Year, I applied for graduation and I think I experienced a small panic attack after I filled out the form. It hit me that college is coming to an end and for once I am not entirely sure what is going to happen next.

Since I was six years old, everything was so planned out. You know, after elementary school comes middle school. From middle school, you go to high school. After high school comes college and after college comes… Yes, well comes what exactly?

See, there are so many different directions I can go in after graduation. I can go to grad school, get a job, stay in the United States or move back to the Netherlands, take a gap year and travel; you name it. 

It is not that I have nothing planned for after graduation because I do. I want to apply for a Master’s program at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and I am also trying to get into this TV Academy for a big tv channel, also at home. Both programs only accept 30(!) students a year… I am going to do everything I can to get in but the selection process sounds brutal. 

If I do not get in, I would not really know what to do. 

Also, there is another topic we need to discuss: money. I have been blessed with two amazing parents that have two well-paid jobs. They have been a huge help over the past couple of years. But their ‘help’ is coming to an end as well. That is more than right; they cannot help me with rent, plane tickets, and other expenses like that forever. They can’t and they shouldn’t. 

Although, I guess I have a little problem there then, unfortunately. During summer break I had an interesting talk with my father about my future. We went over the amount of money I had in my savings account at that moment and you want to know what he said? His words were: “Oh, that’s not much Steph.” 

Thanks, Dad. That is just what I needed. 

So where do I go from that? There is a very small chance I am getting into the programs I apply for and I have a father telling me that I am far from financially stable.

And that is what scares me to death. How is it possible to become independent while I still depend on so many others? 

I turned 21 in November last year and it has occurred to me that the thing that starts after college is called ‘life’. Of course, I ‘have lived’ for the past 21 years but life really starts now. During your early twenties, you figure out what you like to do and what you do not. You figure out who you like and who you want to keep in your life and who you do not. And more importantly, you find out what person you are right now and what kind of person you would like to become. 

A couple of days after that conversation with my dad, I broke down in front of my mother in our backyard. I explained I am getting stressed about the fact that things are going to change drastically this year and that I am scared things are not going to go how I want them to. I asked her: “Why is there not a class called ‘How to grow up 101’?” She had no answer to that question.

But what if I make the wrong decision? I have been at Mercy College for almost four years now and I have built up an entire life here. It felt like my life was meant to continue here until I found out Mercy College does not offer the Master’s program I see myself pursuing a career. 

So, that is that. I guess it is time to go home and live my life further at the place I grew up. This does sound assuring. I at least know that my time here in the United States is over. My future is somewhere else, not here. 

However, the unknown is still out there. The fact I know I will be moving back home again makes things less complicated, you would think. I doubt it. After four years of living in the United States, I will have to start over. Again. 

The future is a scary thing. They say that that is the beauty of it too. 

I have yet to experience that. 

Eventually, everything will fall into place.