Muse of randomness (itspaula) wrote,
Muse of randomness

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Thoughts on Seniorism...

A year ago, while sitting in a practice interview for a summer internship, I was asked by the interviewer what my biggest regret was--if I could change something in my past, what would it be? I sat for a while, unable to think of anything, and ultimately made up some non-answer. It's interesting, because I've never been so acutely desirous of a "reset" button before. Large-scale would be nice. A year ago, I couldn't think of a single re-do moment; now, I'd make drastic changes throughout the past six and a half months. If I could have them back--go back to August and start over--things would be quite a bit different.

Typical Paula, to burst out with such melodrama, but it's true. I've bungled (perhaps not the right word?) important relationships, potentially important opportunities, the grad school application process at large, the writing of my BA, personal finances, and dinner recipes. It's a classic case of 20/20 hindsight, but I do feel a bit like I've grossly mismanaged things.

I suppose I assume that if I'd done things differently, I'd have a surer footing right now. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Lately I've been forced to do a lot of thinking about where I want my life to go, both long- and short-term, and how I'm going to get it there. A part of me wants to aim low--stop striving, stop being crazy and stressed. Just get a job that pays bills, then get married, cook, and have kids. I do really enjoy cooking, after all. The University of Chicago wants me to succeed so badly, and tells me so so frequently, that most times I forget that it really only has its own interests at heart. After all, no one will apply to UChic because of my fame as a housewife.

But there's a part of me that does want to keep going, to struggle vigorously towards some kind of fulfilling, Nirvana-esque future career. But what? Academia? Am I really suited to write papers for the rest of my life? I can't even summon the strength to finish my BA (and reading Middlemarch during this critical period DOESN'T HELP)--how will I be able to keep writing papers that are even more important, that matter even more?!
Also, there's that part about having mucked up the grad school application process, which doesn't help matters...

Or should I leave academia, if I don't have the chops? But what then? I really love the work I've been doing in arts admin--should I take the GMAT and go get an MBA? Now _there's_ something I'm unqualified for. Having spent so long working towards one goal, I feel like I'm cheating myself and everyone who's worked with me by changing directions, or even pondering such a change.

Then, apart from these major life-path choices, there are all the other things to consider--Should I take a year off? Have a job? An internship? What will I do about Alaska? How will we make things work? How do we make a plan that allows for flexibility but points us in the direction of each other at an end terminus? Should I apply for X scholarship or Y fellowship? Music History or Ethnomusicology? And, if Ethno, should I take Hindi? or Hebrew? Or Arabic?

And then I realize--with all of this stressing, I'm not even thinking of the fact that I'm Graduating in a few months. I'm moving out of my apartment and leaving all of my friends. I'm closing the book on what people so blithely term the "best years of my life". In all the bustle, I haven't even had time to freak out about those things...

*cue Paula running down hallway, freaking out...*
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