Graduation and what to do next

Graduation and what to do next

Guys, I have some breaking news for you all. I was originally supposed to complete my MBA at Suffolk University in three semesters, and graduate in December 2017. Now? I found out I have graduation this May! (with one online course left for the summer). My first thought when I discovered this was HOLY SHIT. And some other not so nice swear words. Was I excited? scared? nervous? disappointed? All of the above, and for various reasons.

Graduation Suffolk University
Face you make when you find out you’re graduating early

I still have no idea what I want to do after graduation. People are already telling me to start applying for those corporate, 9 to 5 jobs, and I feel like I’m being pulled back in to the typical American dream. This is great for many people, but it isn’t for me. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to think about my impending graduation, mainly because of my full course load and four part time jobs. Every time I get stressed about a job or school work, I remind myself this is the last time I will ever be in school again. I have so much to look forward to this semester – some great class projects, working with an undergraduate crowdfunding class, traveling to Brazil in a few weeks. It all sounds so great and exciting.

Yet, I’m a planner. I make plans. I look to the future and decide what I want and go after it with full force. When I decided to graduate a semester early for my undergrad, I went after over 70 jobs, applying and following up like a madwoman. I got a job offer in October, two full months before I even received my diploma. I started my job on January 3rd, and was thrust into a full-time tax season working six days a week and 60+ hours a week. I went back to my college graduation in May, where most students didn’t have any plans beyond summer beach days and bonfire parties. I was already planning my next move – studying for the CPA exam and potentially going to grad school.

When I started grad school last semester, I told myself I was going to be open to any and all opportunities. I explored various career sectors, networking events, and spoke with professionals and professors to learn more about different opportunities. And then I went to Hong Kong for two weeks in January, by myself, and everything changed. I don’t want a corporate 9 to 5 job, but people are pressuring me to get one. A serious relationship isn’t on my mind right now, but the questions of marriage and children are coming up. I don’t want to stay in New England short-term – but people are pressuring me about family and friends, and being close to them for all the milestones they are facing.

Chocolate Mousse
Sometimes better than a relationship (:

And I get it, I do. My friend is having her second child in a couple of months, and her first born means the world to me. That friend and a couple of others are ones I’ve had for a long time, and they get me. I don’t make friends super easily, at least the ones who know me inside and out. So yeah, I’ve thought about how hard it would be being away from those close friends. And don’t even get me started on my family. I’m super close with both parents; my mom is my best friend. I love my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. My Nana is getting older, and I only see my Grandpa and his side of the family maybe once a year.

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I have a strong community here in the Boston area – good school friends, amazing professors, great business connections. And I am only strengthening those with all of the outreach and networking I am doing. And part of me wants to stay in Boston, get a 9 to 5 job, have a boyfriend, and look down the road for marriage and kids. I still want that, i do. But I know I’m 25 (almost 26), and I know I will always regret not trying something that I’ve wanted to do for years. I want to live abroad, I want to work on my own terms and for myself, I want to travel Southeast Asia and Australia and the whole world. I want to try travel writing and photography, volunteering with children, and the list goes on.

Forget Me Not, Inc.
First prototype of my business idea
Ann Taylor Factory - Merrimack, NH
Creativity comes out at Ann Taylor Factory!

The same day I discovered I was graduating a semester early, I sat down and made a list of all I wanted to do after graduation. Some of those included getting my TEFL certification, working on my business, doing contract project management work, living in Hong Kong, and the list goes on. I’ve started applying to corporate jobs but also some out of the blue jobs. A teaching assistant job at The University of Hong Kong, a volunteer program in the Middle East, a travel writing course in The Balkans, and so much more. I’m not allowing myself to stay in the comfort zone this time around. Because I believe there is so much more out there for me, and for anyone really.

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I want to take advantage of this unknown part of my life, and enjoy it to the fullest, even if I’m terrified. Yes, I am always wondering if I am making a big mistake which will affect my life for years to come. But at the same time, I need to do this for myself. If I don’t, I think I’ll regret it forever. You see, getting married and having kids is permanent. Moving abroad, starting a business and traveling for a year is temporary. And I’m forcing myself to be temporary instead of permanent right now.

So here’s to the crazy ones out there. The ones who don’t just dream, but do. The ones who see something they want and go after it with full force. The ones who listen to all the naysayers and Debbie Downers, but say no to the peer pressure. The ones that follow their heart instead of listening to their head. The ones who are full of passion, and love, and compassion and understanding. The ones who know what is right, even when it feels wrong. I’m with you all, and cheers to be being so unapologetically true to ourselves.

— Jess


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