The Things I Didn’t Plan For

If you asked me six months ago where I’d be halfway through my senior year of college, I would have told you all of my life’s plans. I had everything planned out and there was nothing that was going to get in the way of all my dreams, plans, and expectations coming true.

But here I am, sitting in my living room with my college roommates, the people who have become my best friends over the last four years, and we’re all questioning what we’re going to do upon graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Just like many of you, 2020 has thrown us a curveball and left us all figuring out what to do next and how to make sense of this “new normal.”

Since the pandemic started, I lost my job and my summer internship, had to move back home with my parents, and I’ve had a really hard time adjusting my life to something I never could have planned for.

The memory that sticks out to me the most?

Applying to job after job and internship after internship. Receiving rejection after rejection, or not even getting a response most of the time. According to the career advice I’d received from various professors and mentors along the way, I’d done everything right, but I was still failing in my own eyes.

I really had to take a step back and look at my priorities to determine what I wanted for myself and what really mattered. After that I came to the conclusion that being happy and fulfilled in what I’m doing is more important than being successful

In times like these when it seems like good news is becoming harder to find by the day, you have to find the positives for yourself. In my situation, I realized I have a lot more free time this semester due to my classes being online and the majority of my club events being cancelled. So, I started applying to fall internships, something I never would have had time for before because I’m usually extremely busy during the school year.

And wouldn’t you know it, I found an internship and I’m here talking to you all now!

I don’t always know what I’m doing and there are a lot of times where I have to ask questions, or I get an assignment from my supervisor sent back because I forgot to include something. I’ve learned that things – whether in life, at school, or at work – aren’t always perfect, I’m not perfect, and I never will be. But I am learning.

In seven months I graduate and I am terrified of where I will be when my collegiate journey comes to an end, but I tell my friends that as long as I have a job, I will be happy. But I also now understand that, when I look back at my life, the best things that have happened to me are the things I didn’t plan for.

I’ve learned that there’s a difference in preparing yourself for the future and trying to plan the future. Things rarely go according to plan. But if I’m able to prepare for whatever life throws at me and keep learning I think I’ll do okay.

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