I think that I am at that point where I’m honestly considering quitting school. Of course, I will never quit school willingly; I have far too much money invested in this place. Plus, I do love school. I mean, I imagine I still do… deep, deep inside. I like learning things. I like growing and discovering. I like becoming more myself. I like being with like-minded people.
But I despise these papers and these tests and these group stinking projects. And I certainly am not a fan of every single one of them happening in the month of April. This month might be my tipping point. What with schoolwork, paying-bills work, planning for next year, trying to figure out what on earth I am doing this summer, AND getting an adequate amount of sleep – I will be lucky if I make it through the next 31 days with an inkling of a desire to finish my degree.
This feeling – tipping point, wide-eyed scrambling, dropping-out-and-running-away feeling – is not familiar to me. I truly enjoyed high school (the learning part, that is. The pettiness I could have done without). There was no other option than for me to go to college. I don’t know what else I would’ve done. I dreamed about college. And I have loved it since I’ve been here. But lately, it’s like I’ve hit a wall. I’ve been in school for fifteen years – pretty much my entire life, I’ve been memorizing and testing and one-upping and pleasing the system. I don’t regret any of it, but I don’t want to be trapped in this anymore. I’m suffocating under a pile of books, drowning in an ocean of papers. I’m unsure of where I’m going even on my way there.
That’s sort of where I am tonight.
I was home for Easter this past weekend, and my Aunt Lori, one of the kindest, wisest, most loving people I know, asked me The Question. What am I thinking about doing after graduating? She prefaced it with “I know it’s a long way off and it’s completely okay not to know,” which I realy appreciated. Because I’m not generally a fan of that question. I’ve found that most (MOST… not all) adults (and I use the term “adults” with awkwardness and irony, seeing as I am technically an adult, and so are the majority of my friends. But I’m not talking about us. I’m talking about the generations ahead of us, who still see us as, more or less, kids) ask that question with an air of superiority, as if they anticipate our confounded answer and are simply waiting to barrel on into a tirade about The State of Things (i.e. why my generation is awful and entitled and lazy, how there are no jobs ever, how my generation has deluded fantasies about the workforce, why the government is crumbling, how poor they are, how poor we are, how poor everyone is except the really rich people who apparently everyone should resent unless of course they give my generation jobs or something).*
Aunt Lori doesn’t say stupid stuff like that, though. And I really appreciate it. So I answered honestly. I told her I want to do many different things. I want to work at Disney, and I want to work at some more camps. I want to work at theatres and museums. I might want to work at an international boarding school. I want to work on movies. Write books. Be a mom. I want to do stuff that means something. Then I told her I’m a little ashamed of my lack of direction. I said I am afraid something is wrong with me; maybe I am deluded, and maybe there aren’t any jobs for me. I might just get stuck like so many others who were supposed to go do great things.
Aunt Lori said something really wise. She told me about how excited she had been for the past month as she put together her two-year-old’s Easter basket. She bought so many things, it turned into an Easter wagon, and she put so much thought and love and time into it. My cousin didn’t know it was coming, but Aunt Lori did, and she could not wait to give the gift.
“God’s like that,” my aunt said. “At least, I think so. He plans and plans, and He has all these wonderful gifts ready to give us. All the while, we don’t know the gifts are coming, so we’re searching around for something else. But God is there, smiling and clapping His hands, so excited to give us what He’s been planning for so long.”
I think more adults need to be like my Aunt Lori. Her words didn’t automatically satiate my anxieties, because my anxieties are great and only God can satisfy them. But they reminded me that I need to trust. I’m so tired of this cynical world, of people telling me there aren’t jobs, of getting rejection letters from everything I apply to until I start believing I really am only good, but never good enough. I’m tired of planning and networking and shmoozing and career fairs. I’m tired of stacking my deck because it’s the only hope I’ve got to make it in this cold, cruel world. Why does it seem like everything is attempting to snuff out the small flame of childhood tucked in my heart? Why must everything be a battle? Will I always be climbing a mountain, struggling for oxygen in the thinning air as I trek ever higher? Does life only get bleaker from here?
I need to trust. I need to trust that God has millions of Easter wagons lined up for me, some containing jobs, others containing people, perhaps one containing some handsome charmer for me to hang out with for life. I need to trust the people who let me stay idealistic, and who remain idealistic themselves. I need to trust my own abilities and gifts and drive. I’m not going to melt away.
I’m still massively stressed out over this last month of school. I’m also significantly anxious about what I’m doing this summer, whether I’ve made the right choice, whether anyone is actually going to give me a blessed job. Whether I’m going to make a difference at all. I will probably never know what I’m doing with my life. And that is not always a comforting feeling. It’s also not enjoyable to explain.
But I do know I’ve got God. So I need to be good with that. Nothing else would cover this much junk.
So that’s where I am tonight.
*Well, if that isn’t the most horrifically parenthesized sentence EVER.