Heading into my fourth year of college, it has finally dawned on me that life is about to hit me head on in less than a year. I think I am going through a “quarter-life crisis.” There are just so many things that I want to do in my last year, or want to do before I start my life in the real world. I have begun to realize how much things actually cost, and how little I will actually be making upon graduation. In this small moment of clarity, surrounded by complete chaos, I realized that yes, time has flown by, but I still have one year left of college to make the most of, and I CAN do all… okay most… of the things I want to in this last year.
Throughout high school I was under the impression, and centered my life plans around, how I thought life was supposed to progress: get your high school diploma, go to a good college, get involved, do lots of internships, get a job, somewhere along the way meet a boy, get married, have kids and be a stay at home mom. That was my life ambition in one sentence, and has been really up until this past year. I guess you could say my mind began to shift, and my plans began to slowly change after studying abroad in New Zealand last summer. I had never been out of the country before, and not only was I out of the country, but across the entire world traveling with lots of people I didn’t know, then embarking on my own 10 day journey with my best friend in Australia. This journey gave me back my independence and made me a stronger, wiser person. I realized that I LOVED to travel and definitely wanted to backpack through Europe in my 20s. After returning from New Zealand, I wouldn’t say I was a “changed person” but my outlook on life became a little bit broader.
Junior year I was Philanthropy Coordinator for my sorority, and I had landed an internship at a well known event planning company, Epting Events. Ever since coming to UGA I had dreamed of working at Epting, so this was a big accomplishment in my eyes. With all the work that I had junior year, along with training a Guide Dog, I was overloaded and overwhelmed. By the end of fall semester I did not want to even think of doing any sort of work ever again. I was burnt out. This entire time, I was also Assistant Account Executive for the Creative Consultants team Girls Get Real. Creative Consultants is a student run Public Relations firm on campus, where students have real-life clients to do PR work for. Our client, Girls Get Real, is founded by Shannon Short whose purpose is to change girls, like me, approach to life and open their minds to freely explore what they want to do, and what their purpose is; to make them see that they do not have to follow the “predefined path.” What I’m getting at is that being a part of this team, and working for Shannon, helped crystallize my thoughts on being my own person and creating my own personal journey.
With all that being said, I have truly embraced my internship this summer at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, loving all the real-life PR work that I have been fortunate enough to experience, as well as making some wonderful connections along the way. Going forward I am excited about making the most out of my senior year. I have taken college maybe a little bit more seriously than I should have. I want to give myself a year of fun and freedom, while of course still working hard in school, before heading out to the real world. I am planning on going to Europe for a month after graduation with one of my best friends to fulfill the dream of backpacking through Europe. I have received some criticism for this, as I may not be able to find a job or internship as easily, but you know what I finally decided, it is not their life, it’s mine. I am making this choice, and it could come back to bite me in the you know what, but I don’t think that it will. Coming from prior experience, these life adventures will expand my knowledge culturally and build my character as a person. I will also, most probably, never again have an entire month to spend in a foreign country, so why not EMBRACE it? I took out a loan and am in the process of finalizing plans of locations to visit. We plan on posting up at a friends house in Paris for a couple weeks while we travel to the UK and Spain during that time as well, and then finishing our trip in Italy for about 2 weeks then back to Ireland for a few days then flying home. I don’t think it could get any better… that is unless I were to land a job with the Olympics and just stay in London through September… hey you never know!
This is my advice to you… don’t think you have to do everything “how it’s supposed to be done.” Take chances, fail at something, have a little fun… those experiences will be worth remembering and you will be a better person because of it. This is your life… make of it what you want!