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By Viva Yang
Student Columnist
Friday, November 10, 2000

I am honestly very scared and nervous right now. I am a twenty-two year old college senior. I can't say where I'll actually be or what I'll actually be doing a few months from now. I think I'm doing what other seniors like me are doing: applying to interesting graduate programs, trying to take care of unfinished business, trying not to slide too soon, and trying to engross myself into this last year; making it seem like real fun as opposed to a year where I can show off how well I've mastered the ability to just go through the motions.

This is all a cover. I am trying desperately to get something started for next year. Trying to create something that I will be doing next year. I want a spot somewhere. That I can't exactly put a finger on what that spot is, makes me nervous. Where am I going to be and what will I be doing at this time next year?

I'm certain that I am not the only college senior unknowing of what the next few months will bring. I hope I'm not the only one worrying too much either. Perhaps some of you are too tied up with the moment at hand to even be thinking about your position next year. I bet some of you have already secured your locations for next year without a drop of sweat on your foreheads.

I'm not heading in blind, though. I have dreams and hopes. More specifically I've got career goals, but it's dropping off the edge of the undergraduate world that has me worried. I feel as though I've got no security. In my years before, I was comfortable knowing that I would be back for another year, safe from the mysterious unknown of post-undergraduate life. I knew where I was going to be and exactly what I was going to be doing. I had that safety net.

I'm a communications major. I really enjoy writing. Sometimes I can keep from picking up a pen and scribbling down all that is going on in my mind. I can't be without music. If I had to be stranded on an island, music would have to be a necessity. I'm just amazed and turned on by the challenge of film production, where the two things that I enjoy seem to come together. I've enjoyed creating things like CD covers, newspapers, magazines and webpages. I honestly get a high from working on these things. I like knowing that when I work on something, at the end I've got a tangible product as a result of my efforts.

I have a passion for communication. I also love languages. My tongue has probably been pulled in too many directions already. I see the computer as my friend.

These are the things that I enjoy doing. In many ways these may be called my "skills," the things which make me marketable in the "real world," what set me apart from everybody else.

I've worked before. For the past three summers, I have been fortunate to work at a social service agency near where I live. They've been good enough to offer a young student work for just the summer. I've been able to use, maintain and improve Spanish and Hmong, two languages I speak, because of this job. I've been able to dabble in grant writing, agency newsletters, and internal and external communication. It's too bad that my heart is not into the social services. I was wanted at this place, though. I spoke the languages of their main clients. I was able to work well with computers. I understood desktop publishing.

These are the things that set me apart from all of the other applicants. I could honestly see myself there again in the event that all of my other plans fell through. I would not be happy though. I would go to work each day knowing that I was only in between dreams. That this place was merely a stepping stone for bigger and better opportunities until I eventually reached my dreams, or a better one came up. I could be at graduate school, focusing on journalism or communications, being challenged in areas where I was genuinely interested and self motivated. I could meet new people and be exposed to a whole new environment. I could live my own life as an individual separate from family and the life that I had developed during college. Of course if I was on my own, I'd also be at a disadvantage; all of the support that I used to have would now suddenly be miles and miles away (if I decided to go far). I would seemingly have to start all over and build all those networks and relationships. I would definitely miss certain elements of my old life.

You have to know what you want before you can begin doing anything. My confidence and ambition might provide me with the front of being a person who knows what he's doing. And I can put into words what I would like to be doing someday. I keep it real, but it is my dream. I am afraid because I don't quite know how to go from where I stand now to that dream of mine. I know there are certain steps that I must take to have any chance of reaching my dream, but nothing is guaranteed. That uncertainty is what scares me to death.

I guess even what we are all doing now at school puts us in a certain realm of uncertainty. Did we all really want to go to college or did we just do it because it was what we were supposed to do? The next thing to do? We can work hard for four years and walk away with a B.A. or a B.S. in studio art or biology, but what does that mean? A biology major might find out she would rather paint for the rest of her life and a studio art major might find the stock market exhilarating. You could work hard you whole life for that one goal of being a rock star; taking voice lessons, eating, breathing and sleeping with your guitar, but you might never make it. You might not have had the right image. The entertainment industry is a whole other realm of the "life," I suppose. People can act and sing, very well for that matter, but other factors besides the talent itself can make or break you. When you have a skill like knowledge of surgery, the workings of the economy, or excellent writing skills, your image probably only matters during your interview.

But the thing is, you can work hard your whole life and chase some dream that you've had and developed since childhood and then one day something new might enter your life and turn that all around. You might always almost reach your dream, but how many times can you take rejection before you start to wonder why that's all you seem to get. There are those who work hard for the things that they seem to want and when they actually reach their goals, they end up not enjoying the reality; they were somehow misinformed on what the job really and completely entailed. Or possibly they never really wanted it in the first place. And there are the passionate, who no matter what may cross their paths, they will stop at nothing to get where they want to go and be, and those are the ones who really enjoy doing what they do, because they've always known what they've wanted.

I stand now as a naive man; unknowing what exactly my life will be, but willing to work hard to find out what it will be. I will continue to chase my dreams, promising to always be open-minded and flexible, allowing new things to come into my life and affecting me and also with me affecting them hopefully. I know this: I want something and that thing is slowly taking shape. There is a next step. I'll keep going and thinking and living.

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