I have been trying to write this column for far longer than is really appropriate. It’s taken me so long because I know that by writing this I have taken the first of the last steps I will take at Rocky Mountain College. That mere fact makes this painful.
I have always had a plan. All of my life I have known exactly where I was going and what I was doing. When I graduated from high school, I knew that I would be going to college in the fall. When I arrived at college, I knew I was going to graduate in four years because that was my plan. I had everything planned out, from my major to the classes I would take every semester for the next four years. I decided, and so I did it.
Now, as I’m getting ready to graduate from college, I have realized that I, for the first time, don’t have a plan for the future. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know my exact next step. I very simply just don’t know. I don’t have a plan, and to be honest, that really scares me. But it’s also liberating.
Not having a plan means that I can backpack through Europe, or go live on a farm, perhaps go to grad school, or I could just work. Although terrifying, not having a plan has opened up a whole frontier of possibilities. By not knowing, we are able to give up control and let the world tell us exactly what is out there. The world is open to whatever we decide.
To my fellow graduating seniors who also don’t have a plan, take comfort in the idea that the world is just opening up; life is waiting for you to experience it and you’re not alone. As writer Kurt Vonnegut so eloquently put it, “So it goes,” and so will each of us. Put one foot in front of the other and see where it takes you.
To the students who aren’t graduating, my only advice is: don’t get stuck in your plan. Plans are great and they help when you find yourself without a direction, but when followed strictly, you may end up missing out on what’s in front of you. I spent far too long focused on what I thought was my plan and not long enough actually experiencing college. You only have so many years here – don’t waste them.
As I spend my last few weeks as a student at Rocky Mountain College, I find myself reflecting not only on things I wish I could have done differently but also on the wonderful experiences that I had here – most of which didn’t come by way of a plan. They came when I let myself be present in the moment.
To all of the people great and tall who helped shape me in the last four years, I say, “See you later. I’m off to have my next great adventure.”