By the end of my freshman year in college, I pretty much knew my 5-year plan. I would graduate, complete my school’s 4+1 master’s program, give back to my community, and work at the hospital where I’ve interned since high school.
Now that I’m in my junior year, I’m ready to switch my plan up—to avoid falling into the post-college career path trap.
For starters, I don’t want to do a 4+1 master’s program anymore. I’ve decided that I’ll really need a break once I graduate from undergrad. As fun as college is, it’s also really stressful. As a result, I don’t think I’d be able to jump into a master’s program right after graduating.
From speaking with my mentors, they agree that this program is not something you should do until you're absolutely sure. It’s OK to work and then go back and pursue a master’s degree if you want one. This is what I’m looking forward to now.
Another factor was that my internship this summer at the health center went extremely well. In a short amount of time, I managed a grant for the Boston Public Health Commision, fostered great relationships with both my bosses and assimilated very well into the center’s community and culture, knowing patients and staff on a first-name basis.
I think I made a great impression. In fact, one day, both my bosses were out of the office, and out of their seven interns, they chose me to be in charge. I got to run a whole health promotion center by myself. Of course, my bosses were available by phone, but the fact that they trusted and believed in me enough to keep the show going was astounding.
Because of this great experience, I feel as though I should recenter my plan around obtaining a job after college, possibly at the health center. I expect to intern there for two more summers, and if all goes well with school, it’s looking very bright in terms of getting a full-time job there post-graduation.
Don’t Get Stuck
Many college students worry so much about picking a path—and then not deviating from it. But the older I get, the more I realize I do not need to follow a cookie-cutter lifestyle and that things happen at their own pace. Most importantly, there is ALWAYS room for CHANGE.
Will my latest change in plans be permanent? I doubt it. But that's exactly why I’m doing it. I now see that you can’t really put things in stone at this age. I’m constantly exploring, finding new passions, and networking so my plans for my future keep changing.
Never think you have to have it all figured out in the moment. Instead, have some goals that you hope to accomplish and frame your life in the direction you want it to go in.
What do you guys think? Has anyone had similar experiences? Log in or sign up with your Salt account to share your stories with me. I’d love to hear other perspectives!