Growing up, I had a plan. Or, at least, my parents and my peers” parents and American society had a plan that we were all going to follow. It was a multi-step process to life that led individuals to graduate high school, go to college, find a job, get married, buy a house and have children.
Although it seems like a simple enough formula for adulthood, this kind of linear timeline to life is not for everyone.
After high school, I took an unintentional gap year before going to college. At the time, I wasn”t able to afford a higher education and when I found out I wouldn”t be going to college right away, I panicked. If I didn”t go to college, I couldn”t find a job or get married or buy a house or have kids or adhere to the timeline I”d been told my entire life. I had deviated from the narrative and still, I was OK.
During that time, I moved and worked and met new people. When I enrolled at the University of Idaho one year later, I was equipped with a different plan. I felt like my life had a direction again and I was back on track – I would keep my head down, study hard, get good grades and go to law school. Over the course of four semesters, not even that plan would stick.
Three major changes later, I have no idea what I”ll be doing with my life after I graduate next spring, and I wouldn”t have it any other way.
It isn”t always a bad thing when the plan changes, and there can be tremendous value in stepping outside of what we think we”re meant to do.
For many students at UI, May marks the end of their first year in college. Some students may be happy with their field of study and the life they”ve made for themselves at the university. Others may feel like college isn”t the right path for them. There”s nothing wrong with either.
For students who are graduating, it”s important to remember that it”s OK to follow a nonlinear timeline. Obtaining an undergraduate degree and going on to attend graduate school is a great option, but so is finding a job or moving back home or taking time to travel.
There is no single formula to life, no specific narrative that will work for everyone. The major a student is studying now doesn”t have to be the one they graduate with. The person you”re with doesn”t have to be the one you marry. You don”t have to have children and if you want to go your entire life without owning a house, that is OK.
Confucius once said, “It doesn”t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Similarly, it doesn”t matter which path you choose, as long as it”s the right one for you.