This college experience has finally helped me figure out what I’d like to be when I grow up…a kid. Actually, that’s not true at all, but I have heard that or something very similar from many of the students around me. This summer, I forgot to take a break, and participated in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, a foundation that was established to assist first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented groups successfully enter graduate school. I attended class, wrote papers, decided on a research topic (Stereotype Threat among African American College women) wrote my first Literature Review, composed a methodological framework to study my topic, and even took my GRE (yes…there’s even a standardized test to get into graduate school…I thought I sidestepped that when I decided not to pursue Medical School!) The six-week program was short, intense, something I’d never want to re-do…while also an invaluable experience that’s really helped me start thinking about “my next step”.
As the years have progressed (Jeez…I’m a Junior now…gray hairs are sprouting up everywhere)…I started to wonder if I’d be able to type blogs that would truly apply or resonate with high school juniors and seniors. After all, we’re years apart and my experience now is long down the road for you guys, right? Wrong…I just need to stop pretending that freshman year was that long ago & get a little more creative.
Two years ago, professors and other mentors kept telling me, “Oh, don’t worry about your major or what you’re doing after college…you have plenty of time…”
Now, they tell me, “You need to think about 6 or 7 years out, it’ll be here before you know it and graduate school isn’t necessarily about “finding yourself”, but more about sharpening your research skills within a narrowly focused discipline.”
Put simply…the messages have changed quite a bit…but an underlying theme is apparent in both. They both refer to time, whether that’s about having plenty of it…or already planning out years from now. While I was running around (studying/reading/writing) this summer like a chicken minus a head, I realized how important it is to find balance between appreciating & experiencing the here-and-now, while also being cognizant that the present is only temporary (sweet as the roses might be, you may hit a patch of dandelions or tulips soon).
We all may have a million reasons to attend college, but hopefully, one of those reasons involve wanting a particular something for your future…whether that’s an exorbitant amount of knowledge, access to a certain job, or the credibility to work within a certain position or community. Don’t lose sight of that goal (and for everyone entering college), be a little flexible…shifting goals is okay, too.
Therefore, it’s important to know and enjoy where you are, but also keep in mind where you’re going…and…stick with me on this last thing… know why you are where you are and why you aren’t somewhere else.