Saturday, June 21, 2008

After-College-20Something Talk

a word of voice to undergrads out there: prolong your college experience for as long as possible.

I do not know what I'm doing or what I will be doing. I'm studying for the GRE so I can pursue a Masters in a field that I'm not so sure about yet. And after five years of studying and reading textbooks (I actually read the chapters assigned), you'd think my vocabulary would be somewhat larger. Not so much. yep, I have nil to offer.

man, am i wallowing in self-loathe? no, this is so unlike me. why am i beating myself up so much?

because it's a big, scary world out there with so many possibilities! i don't know which one to face first!

does putting off the "Real World" really prolong the fact that I will have to continue the journey of life--begin a 'career,' build financial security, pursue higher education, and if it's in the cards for me, find "the ONE," get married and start another cycle of life.

am i a coward if i choose to go abroad and search for more adventure using the guise that I'm looking to enhance my international professional skills? in my heart of hearts, i do want to do all of the above: the American Real World, but i'm scared.

what is it that i'm scared of? a former mentor once taught me the following acronym: FEAR is nothing but False Expectations Appearing Real. i'm so good at preaching that to others too, but when it comes down to practicing it myself, now that's another story.

so this is the challenge i have for myself: face my FEARs, they are only inevitable situations. whether i choose to accept them and face them this year or in the next two years, i will still have to go through them. so why waste time, a friend asked. life isn't that long. life is definitely short, which is why i'm babbling about this to you friends and stalkees.

i understand this is what everyone says is typical "After-College-20something" talk, but i'm glad i can still express it amongst all the other 20Somethings out there that blog about their mundane thoughts. thanks for letting me be one of them!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Next Chapter of My Life Huh?

A whirlwind update: a month ago, I graduated from Andrews University with a BA emphasizing in International Communication and a BA in Spanish Studies (so yes, that does mean that I have the ability to speak with at least 90% fluency). The past four weeks, I was traveling around Chile and Brasil with 49 other students to complete the last six credits I needed for my Spanish degree. A great end to a college career huh?

Do I sound marketable enough yet? Well, I'm sure after 2 Master's degrees, 3 Doctorates, a PhD, and a command of at least 5-6 more languages, I can get that dream job--whatever(s) it is that I'm dreaming to achieve.

Anyways, I came back home less than a week ago, spent a long weekend at home with my family and dog, did some laundry, got my fill of TV and home-cooking, and packed up again to move back to good ol' Berrien Springs where I'm currently living [pretty destitutely] by myself in a basement apartment right next to the house, formerly known as the 'Filipino Sorority House,' where I lived with 3-4 other [Filipina] girls for a large part of my college experience.

Before I drove away from my Permanent home, my mother and I bowed our heads as we typically do before I drive or fly away. Her prayers usually requested for my safe travels, blessings for my studies and exams, wisdom in preparing future plans as I finish college, etc. This prayer had a little variation to it. This time, she said: "as Karen embarks on the next chapter of her life...please guide her...." and I can't remember the rest of her sentence. My attention got stuck with the first part of her sentence, "the next chapter of her life." Have I really already arrived at that chapter? What a cliché question, but true. When I first started college five years ago, I didn't think I'd arrive at this chapter of my life so quickly! I thought I still had plenty of time to figure out what to say to the staple question that seems to automatically activate in everyone's minds once you graduate from college: "so, what's next?"

My answer to "what's next?" isn't the most glamorous, but it'll have to do.

While I have lived away from home for at least 6-7 years now, I have never actually lived without a roommate. I'm supposed to have a roommate this summer, but circumstances altered at the last minute; therefore I am currently learning firsthand how to literally live alone for the first time in my life. I admit, the first night in my unfurnished, spacious apartment, made me feel a little nervous. It was almost as if I didn't know how to act around myself. Haha, okay maybe I sound a bit exaggerated. But seriously, I guess it really does take some getting used to. Don't get me wrong, I still have friends here, it's just different coming home to [sometimes a lot] people or coming home to walls and carpet. The walls don't have much of a witty remark to the question: "how was your day?"

Anyways, the second night was a bit more comfortable with myself. I could easily just call one of my friends and hang out at their PAD until I grow sleepy, but I wanted to give myself and I a shot. So, after collecting the rest of my belongings from a friend's basement, I unpacked them, discovered my small collection of DVDs, unrolled my cozy sleeping bag in the middle of the large living room, popped in season 4 of Friends, propped my PowerBook on a RubberMaid top, and settled in to five very old and still amusing episodes of Friends. I heard myself laughing out loud several times throughout the couple hours and realized that the family upstairs could most likely hear me. Despite that, I didn't want to reprimand myself from laughing. Not then, not ever. I realize this is something I will always have with me. If you've ever watched anything with me, you know that's true. As hard as I try, I have an honest to goodness difficult time keeping myself silent. It's just uncontrollable. However, I have to say I sincerely improved when amongst bigger groups of people and am somehow managing to keep the comments to a minimum. But, when I am by and with myself, as I was the second night, I don't even try. I just let myself lose. Boy did it feel good! And I did have fun by myself!

As for the first chapter of my life after college...I guess as a response to the question 'what's next', it would read: "Having Fun with and by Myself."