Ah! What a summer. I invested a lot into myself this summer, from travel to work to family. I spent a lot of time journaling, finding myself deep into the pages of a good read, and reassessing how I use my time now and how I want to use it for the future.
Despite investing time into myself and being alone for a large part of this summer, there’s a lot I haven’t figured out yet – and I’m okay with that. I’m embracing the idea that I’m still figurin’ it out. It’s a phrase I’ve carried with myself since watching a Claire Marshall video, a vlog showing me what it means to be okay with not really knowing.
I wanted to share a few highlights of my summer – they’re not necessarily experiences or places I went to, but rather highlighted themes/questions I’m still carrying today.
CULMINATED FEAR ABOUT MY FUTURE
Deep conversations with my parents, relatives back home, and friends have really pushed me to actually question what I want to be doing with my future. I currently define the future as post-undergrad, which will arrive (ideally) in the spring of 2020. I always thought this was an answer I’d find in college, but I find that my college education has given me no direct answer for this. College, so far, has formed into a well-rounded individual, breaking down concepts, and honing in on application.
This summer, I’ve come to realize “what I wanted to do” was just an easy scapegoat for me to get out of doing extra work post-undergrad. I was intimidated by the idea of further education, of rescheduling my courses to fulfill prerequisites, and just simply fearful. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted, and I don’t think I have a 100% idea yet.
While this culminated fear wasn’t healthy in the first few weeks of summer, it became a useful emotional state in fueling myself to get out there. To connect, to shadow, and to actively research future career paths. I’ve learned a lot about analyzing myself, understanding my skills and shortages, and applying this into a work space. It’s been a big theme of my 2018 summer, and I’m sure it’ll continue to be a theme for my 2018-2019 academic year as well.
WHAT DO I ACTUALLY WANT? WHAT CAN I ACHIEVE?’
Tying into my future-related fears arose these questions. Labeling myself as wanting to become X, Y, and Z was flawed, because I was telling others I wanted to become something I was unsure if I actually wanted to be. I felt obligated to form an answer when co-workers and friends asked what I’m wanting to become, as if my answer in front of them would dictate my future paths. Until this summer, I didn’t forcefully question myself with what I actually wanted and what I wanted to achieve – and these forceful questions have led me to prolonged moments of reflection.
While these moments of reflection weren’t filled with all rainbows and sunshine, they were filled with good questioning – questioning I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t taken the moment to pause and actually given myself time to think about myself.
Funny how that works.
SELF-DOUBT + WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
A consistent feeling of self-doubt coincided with me thinking about my future, and this cloud of doubt was often lightened up by words of affirmation. I spent a solid amount of my summer around supportive individuals, in supportive spaces, and in headspaces where I supported myself. Out of the Five Love Languages, words of affirmation is my top love language – and the comfort I receive from WOA definitely kicked in during the summer.
EXPERIENCE > ACADEMIA
Through shadowing this summer, I was fortunate to come across this life lesson earlier than later. I learned the value of experience and education together, before the stressful cramming of facts, processes, and concepts. I learned the immense value in simply communicating thoughts, collaborative teamwork, and productive time management – skills that come along with being in academia, but not necessarily academic skills.
Growing in office spaces and taking the initiative to network became a great skill, leading me to opportunities that wouldn’t have occurred within the lecture hall. There was value I gained in pushing myself past the textbooks, and it was a lesson I needed very much.
IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.
Along with being okay with not really knowing, I’ve learned to be okay with not being okay. That it’s completely acceptable to feel confused, conflicted, frustrated. That the answer won’t always fall into my lap. That being okay can be a full range of emotions, all variant on a spectrum unique to each individual.
Being okay can look different for one person versus another, so there’s really no means to compare “okay”-ness. We all hold ourselves at different expectations, and the bar of “okay” can be placed at varied levels too. And that’s the beauty of individualism!
When have you felt “fully” figured out?
It’s okay to give yourself a break, you’re still figurin’ it out.
With much love,