Searching for Plan A

By Sterling Hopkins

“What do you want to do after graduation?” is the most popular question I encounter these days and like clockwork, I tactfully respond, “I would like to pursue a career in corporate communications.” People seem to find that response much more impressive than one of my actual desires to never work a day in my post-grad life while traveling the world.

Yes. That is a dream of mine and yes, I am aware of how unrealistic it is.

Do not get me wrong. Despite my current confusion, I am fortunate to have options. I always have. Right out of high school, I was hired by a company that allowed me to work fewer hours and get paid just as much, if not more than my peers. It also provided me with benefits, a 401(k) plan, paid time off, and the opportunity to grow into the corporate communications role I effortlessly fall back on when questioned about my future.

In a 2014 article for Forbes magazine, Kathryn Dill wrote that a college degree is traditionally stressed as the most direct path to a future that is financially secure. However, I beg to differ. My first job was and still is not a bad gig that I am grateful for.

However, four years of higher education, several self-help books and a few SuperSoul Sunday episodes later, I realize that I need more than just a job. I need more than great hours, a fancy retirement plan and PTO that I never remember to schedule. I can also do away with the added pressure of seeking to impress those who constantly inquire about my future endeavors.

The more I think about it, the more I understand what it really all comes down to. I am responsible for leading a life I am comfortable with and proud of. Not one that is merely offered to me or expected of me. I am not ready to settle for my Plan B and I need to take the time to discover what serves as the middle ground for me.

How can I put my education to good use while also doing something I love? What could I possibly pursue that will not feel like a task but rather a fulfilling experience and ultimately lead to my purpose? That will be my Plan A and whatever that is, it is what I want to do after graduation. I do not have that figured out quite yet and I am O.K. with that. After all, no one has it completely all together.

Hopkins is a senior public relations major