To The Class of 2014

7 Apr

Congratulations.

You’ve almost survived four years that began with general lectures & quickly funneled down into clear cut skill refining assignments.

You entered the game with a vague idea of what you wanted to pursue & are now writing a thesis about something you hopefully love. Something you really enjoy writing about. Something you’re just really good at. You have just survived four years of being molded to perfectly fit into a box called a ‘major’ which will soon earn you that degree to begin a Type A life. But, before you walk across that stage at graduation to grab that diploma, please always remember there’s still a Type B. 

Type A is the ‘reality’ or what society tells you is the direction you should go. You are good at this one thing, you have been trained in this one thing, & now you are a shiny new model exiting the conveyor belt in the world to apply this skill set in a job specifically designed for it.

That’s great & all, that is if you truly don’t consider Type B an option.

Type B is what you actually want to do. It’s where your dreams somehow meet reality. Where you can relax on beaches, travel the world, make a living & be really happy. 

Type A people will tell you that the Type B life does not exist. It’s fantasy & unproductive. It is a waste of your education. It is a waste of your time. It’s a waste of everything you’ve just worked for.

But I wonder how many Type A people will tell you that they, themselves, are truly happy. 

They probably will because they believe happiness is something that you have to work for. Something that you will (hopefully) achieve someday. After you answer phones, staple papers, get coffees & have a ton of jobs that make you feel useless. You have to work your way up to happiness. In some corporations, sure, this is true. However, what they don’t tell you is once you make it to the top, once you’ve played all the right cards, got your big break & clawed your way to victory, is happiness truly guaranteed? I guess it all depends on your definition of the word. If to you it means money–then yes, you will be happy. But if the definition is something a bit more then I am afraid you won’t really know until you get there.

And to me, dear readers, that’s a little scary.

Being in my mid-30s & 40s slaving over a desk day & night then suddenly realizing I focused so much on making a living that I forgot to make a life. Sure I have a few more bucks in my bank account, but can they pay for all my regrets of not seizing past opportunities? I guess it’s your call.

If you want the Type A life–go for it. You will be applauded for it. You can toast to interviews at parties & impress relatives with job prospects on holidays. It’s good conversation. You sound so mature. It’s a solid foundation for a stable life. But the only problem is the future is unpredictable. Economies crash, people get laid off, things go wrong. And before you know it you’re shopping around this sole skill set that they all promised would help you sail into the sunset. 

And it’s like starting all over again.

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I can not say I have all the answers at age 23, but I can say that one year ago I was in your shoes. And I took a deep breath, held my nose & dove into the Type B life. And I am so happy where it has gotten me. My resume is currently a scattered narrative of odd jobs which I can quickly all defend as shaping a different skill set. Oh, my year teaching Czech preschoolers? Teaching/child care experience. Three years working as the Rhode Island Lottery Girl? Television experience (& a very suspicious Family Guy shout out. Youtube it). Dunkin Donuts? Taught me teamwork, customer service & a HECK of a lot of patience! Sell yourself!

One thing I have always admired about my mom is her gift of selling her different skill sets. She went to school for advertising, but years later went back to get her degree in criminal justice. When I was a baby she was a Hallmark Cards branch manager in charge of 600 people, she later worked to get a court reporting stenographer certificate & is currently the 911 dispatcher for 3 different police departments! Inspiring! She knew her interests (law), & remembered her talents (communication/organization) & morphed them into a Type B lifestyle. Think of how far she would have gotten if she allowed her UMASS Amherst college degree in Advertisement limit & dictate every job prospect? She might not have a job.

So, 2014, all I am saying is right now I know they are all telling you to go right. To start applying for these jobs because this is what you’re good at. But, what happens if you’re like me, & you decide to instead go left? I always thought I was only good at writing, so I chose Journalism. And yes, I still love to write, but now I know I also absolutely adore teaching children, something I never would have expected. Maybe you too will discover a whole new skill set, a whole new passion & a whole new route to happiness. 

I just feel like I am too young right now to be sitting in some office, stapling papers, getting coffee & day dreaming my life away. Your 20s are for living those dreams. For making mistakes, learning lessons & living entirely for yourself. You have your whole life to be bored & unhappy & ‘find that job that applies your college degree’. There’s no rush. I want to be completely selfish & do things that make me happy right now. In my 30s & 40s I will have kids & a family who are my constant source of happiness, they will be who I live for. But right now, I have no wedding ring & no diapers to change. I am completely free to fly wherever I want, so why the hell would I allow society to clip my wings at age 23?

I refuse to take orders from people who don’t value my existent. I refuse to cower down to those who don’t even take the time to learn my name–all for a paycheck? No amount of money is worth giving up your dignity. Even at this age. I refuse to be dismissed from opportunities & interviews because my ‘1 year of prior experience’ cannot be neatly labeled under a big company name. Life gives you experience. Risk gives you experience. Change gives you experience. 24 months of sitting behind a computer desk gives you carpal tunnel syndrome & back problems. 

We all have our own paths to happiness, dear readers, I just want you to discover yours in your own direction, not just the one everyone else in the crowd is heading towards.

Congrats Class of 2014, you’re almost there! 🙂

-JG

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3 Responses to “To The Class of 2014”

  1. The Generation Me April 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    Reblogged this on TGM Millennials.

  2. Ron April 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    I love that independence is what life should be. If you want to be caged rob a bank and go to jail. I don’t know many young people who realize life is short. Enjoy it now you have plenty of time to be an adult. Of course I have always been proud of you

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