I graduated. Now what?
A memoir of my time at Ohio University.
It was supposed to take three years.
I started college back in 2014 and it was supposed to take three years, and then I would blow this Popsicle Stand and be on my way to adulthood. I had it all planned out: where I would live and where I would work. But life happens, and things seldomly go the way that we’ve planned.
Freshmen year got off to a bad start. I was wildly excited to be on my own for the first time, but I didn’t know how lonely it would be to leave my family for an extended period for the first time in my life. I was only two and a half hours from home, but it was a bit of a culture shock. There was nobody to tell me when to go to bed, what to eat for dinner, when to do homework. Another factor that affected me during freshmen year was the loss of my cousin Levi. He was only 15 years old, and his death affected me more than I cared to let on. You can read about Levi here: Live Like Levi.
Looking back I can see that I was depressed, an emotion that I wasn’t well aquainted with. I was plaqued with headaches and I was largely unhappy, which was so foreign to me that I didn’t know how to handle it.
Spring semester of my freshman year, I felt more comfortable in this place that I started calling home. I had changed my major from Photojournalism to Early Childhood Education. I quickly realized that I could only see myself teaching for 5 years, my classes weren’t fufilling and I was hardly learning. Fall of my sohpomore year I started classes in my third major: Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism. It was during fall semester that I had my first accounting class. It sparked something in me, I loved the way the class was taught, I loved the challenge that it presented, and I loved the problem solving aspect.
Fast forward to Senior Year.
Americans fear public speaking more than death.
Throughout my four years at Ohio University I have had to do a number of presentations on a variety of topics. But the further I got into my degree, the harder the topics became and the longer the presentation limit got. During my senior year I had a crippling fear of giving presentations. I would get anxious and during the presentation I would have a miniature panic attack. My voice would waiver and I wouldn’t be able to take a deep enough breath. It would be a struggle to say the words that I had practiced and practiced before class. My face would be beet red when I would finish the presentation.
Then I started praying before my presentations. I would say, Lord, I give this presentation to you. I should not be afraid of what people think of me. Let me do this presentation for your glory. I would ask the Lord to take all of my worries and my anxieties.
My last few presentations of the year, I still got nervous, but my voice didn’t shake and my face didn’t get so red. I realized that I was letting my fear of what other people would think about me, get in the way of simply talking and presenting the information clearly. Praying before exams and presentations has become a staple in my life as a college student, and I hope I can translate that to my life in the “adult world.”
Then the biggest challenegs came along:
I applied to job after job after job. I had multiple interviews, and for the majority of them, I made it to the second-round. But time and time again, I was given rejection.
“Thank you for applying, but…”
“There were so many talented applicants to choose from, but..”
“We will keep you in mind if other positions open up…”
And so on..
I never knew how unsetteling it would be to not know what I was going to be doing after I graduated. In high school, I always had a clear cut plan for my life. I was the over achiever that planned everything in advance. My junior year I decided that Ohio University was the school for me, and there was no question in my mind about whether I would get in or not.
Even when I changed my major in college, I still had a plan and knew that it would all be okay. I transitioned from Photojournalism to Early Childhood Education to Restaurant Hotel and Tourism and finally ending on a double major in Accounting and Business Pre-Law. The change in majors meant that instead of graduating in three years, I would graduate in four. My senior year of college, that sense of having everything under control, and being able to plan my life was pulled out from underneath me. I no longer had the safety net of having a firm plan in place, and without a plan I couldn’t make a plan B, or C.
Late one night, after yet another rejection letter, I was researching different Master’s programs. At the time, I was thinking I would do a Master’s in Accountancy, but I quickly decided that wouldn’t do. So then I did multiple broad searches. Maybe I wanted to go into marketing and let my creative side finally have the outlet that it needed or maybe something entrepreneurial, but then an idea struck: maybe I could pursue writing, my lifelong dream of becoming an author.
I started searching for a program for writing. Not even sure that one existed, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Then, I struck gold. I found a list of the ten cheapest universities for a Master’s of Fine Arts centered in Creative Writing. At the very bottom of the list, I found Ashland University. That night I prayed and prayed and prayed. After, I knew in my heart that I would be applying to Ashland.
The application called for a writing sample, 25 pages of prose. Of course, I already had written that much and more, but it scared me that I would have to send out my writing that didn’t have time to be edited. After more prayer, and gathering all of the necessary documents, I submitted my application.
A week and a half later I got an email back telling me that one of my references hadn’t yet sent in a letter. After the letter was sent, I got an email the next day with the one word that I was looking for…
I got in!
I was accepted! Immediately after receiving that phone call, I started crying, and thanking the Lord for giving me this opportunity. (Part of me still doesn’t believe that I got in, because I have been dreaming of becoming a published author ever since I was a little girl).
There have been other challenges along the way, but right now, I am trusting God. I am holding Him close. He knows the plans that He has for me.
I am living at home now, and I am happy.
I don’t have a job lined up, but I am happy.
I don’t have a plan that is set in stone, but I am happy.
I am keeping my eyes focused on eternity, and finding my joy in the Lord.
Thanks for reading and following me along on this journey that I call life.
Here’s to graduating from college and moving on to the adult-life.