8B The Statement Wednesday, November 17, 2010
NOVEMBER 17, 2010
T HE Y E AR A F TER JU NIOR Y E AR
BY A LLIE W HIT E
When my roommates and I
returned to Ann Arbor in August
of 2009, we made one thing incred-
ibly clear from the .start: the words
"senior" and "year" would not be
mentioned in the same sentence.
Ever. We insisted on referring to the
upcoming semesters as "the year after
junior year," conciseness be damned.
Our rather transparent avoidance
tactic worked well - perhaps too well
- and I found myself living my year-
after-junior-year just like I had the
"previous three: no looming deadlines,
no uncertainty about the future, no
thoughts of what I would do out in the
Grown up, post-grad life was not
something i wanted to think about,
especially while in the midst of my
pre-grad life. I was having too much
fun as a student to worry about what
Then sometime in mid-March, I
realized that everyone around me had
a plan. Despite our tequila-induced
Welcome Week pact to avoid thoughts
of life after college, my friends had
cheated and were making moves.
Grad school applications went out,
GREs were taken, interviews con-
ducted, apartments in faraway cities
scouted, savings counted.
Unfortunately, no one was offering
me a job like they were the B-school
kids, I would have rather walked
barefoot through a winter in Ann
Arbor than gone to law school like
the rest of the English majors and the
D.C. humidity the Political Science
students would be dealing with didn't
really work for my hair.
After several blissful - albeit igno-
rant - months of unbothered living, I
quite abruptly found myself fighting
to breath under the flood of terrible,
future-less thoughts pouring in.
For a mung time, I'd been concoct-
ing a lovely image of what I wanted
my life to be like after I "made it" and
was wildly successful, respected and
adored. Now, I was faced with defin-
ing how I was going to get there and
the picture was quickly changing
from a charmed life in great shoes to
a murky grey existence wearing Crocs
in the suburbs of New Jersey under
my parents' roof.
For my entire life I had knownowhat
was coming next: kindergarten to ele-
mentary to middle to high school to
college. Simply put, there was always
a plan. After 2i years of hyper-sched-
uled living, I was being tasked with
creating my own "next" and it scared
the shit out of me.
Sure, I was a fairly smart kid with
good grades from a great school, I
had a solid background in Hellenistic
archaeology, 20th century American
"After 21 years of hyper-
Sivi ng, I w as be ing ta ske
Creating my own 'next'
Econ 101 as I wiped my self-pity tears
with the scratchy toilet paper in an
Angell Hall bathroom.
An intense blanket of regret - a
lead Snuggle, if you will - weighed on
my shoulders as I thought about the
things I should have done to improve
my chances of not only finding a job,
but finding a path. I knew what I liked
to do to, but I was at a loss when it
came to making these things tangible.
Sadly, employment search engines
don't offer "hanging out" and "not
thinking about the future" as options
on their drop-down menus.
On top of this internal tear-filled
blue period, I was also terribly aware
of the dark period the economy was
going through. To quote a May 2010
d w ith York Times,
"For the class
~nd 1 t S-ared of 2010 these
diploma sat, useless, in a corner of my
childhood bedroom while my mom
drove me to and from work.
I had gone out of my way to avoid
thinking about post-graduation life
so long that all of my fears and uncer-
tainties about the big, bad future were
manifesting themselves in a giant,
Graduation was bittersweet, as was
the summer that followed. I was still
unemployed, but I had found a way
to justify my dependency status by
enrolling in a pseudo-graduate pro-
gram in the industry I found most
intriguing. Currently, I am employed
in said intriguing industry in a job I'm
learning to enjoy.
Is this a position I can see turning
into a lifelong career? Maybe. Do I
still harbor secret dreams of becom-
ing a psychic detective? Absolutely.
Were my delusions of unemployment
and a directionless life unfounded?
Not exactly. Alittle crazy? Yes.
My situation isn't ideal, but it's
absolutely manageable and realis-
tic. Dealing with uncertainty and a
total lack of direction was terrifying,
especially when it felt like everyone
around me knew exactly what was
coming next in life. But those crying-
in-a-public-bathroom moments and
latte-infused indecision nightmares
are critical. They wake us up, dump-
ing a cold bucket of reality over our
heads. Without them, we might all
face a lifetime of Crocs.
- Allie While is a Universitly alurm
and was Ihe depaly editor ofiThe
Slatement daring winter 2010.
t he sh it o ut of m e"-
literature and the French Impression-
ist movement, but what exactly was I
supposed to do with that?
Prior to my "senior year?!" - yeah, I
said it - realization, I really felt I had
embraced what college was supposed
to be about by opting for interesting
classes rather than practical ones.
Crossword puzzles and "Jeopardy"
clues came easily as a result of my lib-
eral arts education, but not everyone
can make a living as a game show con-
testant and I mentally kicked myself
for taking History of Witchcraft over
and on so many levels.
I felt like Alice falling down the
rabbit hole, except Alice was a col-
lege graduate, the rabbit hole was our
tanking economy, Wonderland was a
cashier's job at Starbucks - if I was
lucky - and I'd never wake up from
the dream because it would turn out
to be my actual life.
Such were the morbid visions that
plagued my last months as a college
student: not only was I wearing Crocs
in New Jersey, but now they were
accessorized with a green apron as my
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