Column by Taylor Grace Suiter, Senior from Brentwood, Tennessee
Productivity expert David Allen says, “You can do anything, but not everything.” He’s right. That’s terrifying.
Allen’s sentiment rings especially true for me lately as I prepare to graduate. I don’t know what I want to do.
I studied Organizational Communication – which touts its curriculum as being applicable anywhere. I can’t disagree, everyone needs to know how to communicate effectively, but I am clueless as to where and how I want to utilize my degree.
When I entered school, the thought of being able to do “anything” with a degree sounded like a no-brainer.
Who wouldn’t want to have all of the options?
Now, I envy those who enter school with clear-cut dreams and pre-planned goals of nursing or education. I long to know what it’s like to have a calling or a passion that translates into a major and a career.
As the once far-off and vague concept of building a career now hurdles at me in all its detailed glory, it becomes less of an idea and more of a reality.
Growing up, when people asked what I wanted to do and I said, “A psychologist and a TV show host and a fashion designer and a writer and an actor and …,” I was almost always met with, “It’s OK, you don’t have to choose yet.” – a comforting response.
People still tell me that, but it feels like choosing time.
It feels like my early 20s are the Fertile Crescent, and whatever choices I make during this part of my life will dictate what populates the rest of my time on the planet. Perhaps that sounds self-important, but if I just relax and see what happens, it’s a potential waste of my Fertile Crescent years.
I don’t want to catch myself in middle age looking back, asking myself why things turned out the way they did.
The problem with choosing is that once you set your eyes on one thing, a million others fall from focus.
If you pick a corporate career, you aren’t going out on a whim to try script writing. If you join the Peace Corps, you miss out on the salary you could make in an office.
So, in a bold effort to keep all of my options open while delaying choice and attempting fulfillment all at once, I’ve made a home in the crossroads.
Doing an internship in D.C.? Sure! Reporting for WKMS? Maybe! Move back to Nashville? Why not? Who knows where I’ll end up? Not me.
For now, I’ve set up shop in a place where I am emotionally overwhelmed and on the brink of panic at any given moment for fear that if and when I move, it will be in the wrong direction. The time will keep passing, whether I make a choice or not.
I know (hope) that one day I can look back, perhaps on this very column of mine, and be able to tell myself that it all works out as it should, and more beautifully than I could have ever imagined. Maybe one day that happens.
Perhaps between now and then I make peace with the idea that maybe there are no “should haves” and instead only “dids.”
My career will be what it will be. Things will happen as they do. C’est la vie.