I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way

Katie Mallady

I’ve been at this school for five years now. I’m finally going to walk across the stage this Saturday. I’m finally going to be a college graduate.

This graduation day has been on my mind a long time. I’m the first cousin of my family’s generation to graduate and the first person in my immediate family to go to college right after high school and graduate.

My father went to Vietnam directly after high school, though he got his degree when he got back, and my little brother dropped out to become a functioning member of society and do his part in helping the economy. He’s now a poker dealer at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

I have a lot of people to thank; it’s taken a lot of effort to get me to this point. My parents, of course, and my grandmother. Supportive teachers and friends. The government, for temporarily shouldering the lion’s share of my tuition, though I probably will stop thanking them when I have to start paying them back.

There is one little problem. I still have no idea what to do with my life, no idea how I will function in the “real” world.

It’s the first question out of everyone’s mouth the second I tell them that I’m graduating: “So, what are you going to do after college?”

My answer on file has been the same for the past year, “I don’t know. Somethin’.”

They always laugh and assume I’m joking, but I’m not.

At the time of my graduation I’ll have a B.A. in psychology, a certification to teach English as a foreign language, minors in writing and LGBT studies, a year of newspaper experience and a growing interest in bartending and wine. Incidentally, I officiated at a wedding last weekend, as I am a legally ordained minister.

In the past I’ve been a drilling assistant to a geotechnical evaluator, a cheery retail employee, a textbook clerk and a packaging and shipping clerk. That last one was a while ago, back in high school, but I still know how to pack stemware according to UPS requirements.

Supposedly, it’s easier for a well-rounded person to make her way through the world. I’m certainly not afraid to go on a road trip by myself, and I’m reasonably sure that I can perform a high percentage of tasks asked of me at any part-time job I can manage to get.

But a road trip is not life and a part-time job is not a career. Being well-rounded and liking a lot of things isn’t helping me decide what one thing I should dedicate my life to.

So what are my options? Take that pesky GRE and apply to grad school? Forget my psych degree and get a job in a newsroom somewhere? Or should I move across the world and teach English in a foreign country? Maybe even join the Peace Corps?

There are almost too many options, and something tells me that I’m not going to make a decision anytime soon. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me. And the rest of you who don’t know what you’re doing with your lives shouldn’t be bothered either.

For the Summer Kent Stater, I’m Katie Mallady. You stay classy, Kent, Ohio.

Contact copy desk chief Katie Mallady at [email protected].