Friday, April 13, 2018

What's Next?

I graduate college in less than one month.
I'm sorry WHAT?!?!?!! I have no idea where the time has gone. I was hoping this semester would slow down, but it has turned out to be the fastest one yet. 

Over the past few months (years really), I have gotten the same question more times than I can count, the question that every graduating senior dreads: so, what's next?
It seems like from the time that we start thinking about college, we're meant to have a plan. Well meaning friends and family want to know where you want to go to college, then what you want to do after that - grad school, job. People so easily forget that they were once 21 without a plan. Even still, that question is wrapped up with so much shame and fear. At least it is for me and a lot of people I know. I think to explain this well, I have to give a little background about myself.

I went to an amazing private high school were I received a fantastic education. Due to the high standard of excellence of the school, most graduates are interested in Ivy Leagues or prestigious liberal arts colleges. When I chose to go to Clemson, most people had not heard of it and had no idea how great of a school it is. I also chose to major in psychology, because I've always been fascinated by how people think and behave. From the second I said that people assumed one of two things about me: 1) I am not that smart and wanted to major in something "easy" in college, or 2) even if I did well at my degree, it is a useless degree and I would have to pursue higher education in order to make a halfway decent living. 

It is a terrifying thing to be told at 18 that your degree is not going to be worth much. I have always placed a high value on my intelligence and education. Being told that my degree was useless made me feel useless. In order to change people's minds about the first part, I made up my mind that I was going to go to med school to become a psychiatrist. But that wasn't me, never was. I realized that, but still had no idea what was the right path for me. 

Fall of my junior year, I started to find it. I chose a business minor because of its practicality the year before, but last fall I took my first marketing class. My eyes opened to a whole new field, an intersection of psychology and business. I was hooked. In the spring, I took consumer behavior and my fascination continued to grow. My professor introduced me to the idea of pursuing a graduate degree in marketing research. 

I was hesitant to go down a completely different path than I set out on at 18. I didn't want to confirm the uselessness of my degree, but I could not deny how much I love this field. I drug my feet while applying because I doubted my capability, a product of the doubt I received from others in the past. Eventually, I got it together and nervously pressed submit on my application.

With shock, amazement, and glory to God, I will be pursuing a Master's of Market Research at the University of Georgia starting in June! This is my dream program and I am so excited for the next year. 

But guess what? After I get my master's, I don't know what's next.