Throughout my youth, my parents, teachers, and friends used a variety of adjectives to describe me. Curious, my dad would say, thinking of the millions of questions I asked. Adventurous, friends might add, referring to my constant activity and trip planning. Industrious, my teachers would include, remembering my prolific and analytical essays. One word that no one ever used to describe me was patient.
I have always struggled with patience. As a child and through today, I have a hard time waiting. Now, things have improved, and I am much calmer about small, daily amounts of waiting. I don’t mind long lines at the grocery store or long walks to restaurants for food. I don’t mind sitting on buses for hours waiting to arrive at my destination. But when it comes to my future, I can’t stand waiting. In fact, I loathe it.
I took a Strengths Quest personality assessment about a year ago, and I’m pretty sure that had I been 100% honest about who I am (instead of who I’d like to THINK that I am) “futuristic” would have been among my top “strengths”. I am constantly planning, doing research, thinking about my future while at the same time fighting to enjoy every moment of my present. I am very aware of the limited time I have in college and indeed have always been aware of it, and I do really have a lot of fun in the now. But at the back of my mind is the “what’s next” that I just can’t silence. Ask any of my close friends–I started actively worrying about what I would do after graduation as soon as junior year rolled around. I mean, some deadlines are far out, but none THAT far out. I’ve always been proactive about getting summer jobs (or like for last summer studying abroad) and for things like planning vacations. I am of the mind that if we let many things go and don’t take advantage of opportunities immediately that they might just quietly pass us by.
I swore to myself I would have my post-graduation plan set by March, so that when April rolled around I wouldn’t have to worry anymore and could just enjoy the little that remained my senior year. And here it is, April 2, and I still don’t know what I’m doing. Today I got the bittersweet email that I’ve been waitlisted for the Ecuador WorldTeach program departing in September. The reason, said the email, had nothing to do with my qualifications but rather with the fact that the program had just recently been filled. Honestly, it’s my own fault for not applying earlier. I was waiting for PC’s answer before I submitted an application for WT, and now it has come to bite me in the ass. I took a risk, and I lost. I feel like a prime idiot, but there is nothing I can do at this point. The director said that there should be some openings for the program but that she won’t know until early June.
Early June. I’ll have already graduated by this point, will be working a summer job, and will only then find out if I maybe have a job with this organization. I really hate being in this position, but there is nothing I can do but wait and plan alternatives if WT doesn’t work out. I think I’ve decided that if WT doesn’t work, I’m going to join a TEFL program in Latin America or Thailand and hope and pray I can find a job afterwards. I always wanted to volunteer, but if this doesn’t work, I am done trying to find service positions. I’ll go serve abroad no matter what, even if it means I’m paid instead of a volunteer.
In the meantime, I’ll be working on getting comfortable with the unknown and rehearsing my serene response to the dreaded “What are you doing after graduation?”. I think I’ll go with, I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually and gracefully walk away.