Today marks exactly one month until I walk across a stage and graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a certificate in Business Foundations. In my four years at UT, I have loved studying communications and learning from the inspiring professors who have guided me to this point and motivated me to continue learning beyond college. There were countless hours spent working on group projects, late nights in Belo finishing a final deck, and presentation after presentation for clients, professors, and sometimes an auditorium full of 80 peers. And with all of this, I still feel like there’s so much more to go out and learn in the world.
After graduation, is the rest of my life.
As I reach this milestone, I have been thinking a lot about “the rest of my life.” I think this vision is different for every person. The rest of my life doesn’t have to be spent at a job, just working for the weekend. I want to wakeup and be excited to live my life everyday, not just on the weekends.
My definition of life is learning, growing, and continuing to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. My biggest fear is complacency, being stuck without growing, which is why I could never hold a job I’m not passionate or excited about.
Lately, when I hear someone say something that strikes me as out of the blue, such as, “You should go start a business” or “You should go to Vietnam,” my initial reaction is “That’s crazy. Why would I do that?”
Now, instead of dismissing the crazy idea with my initial reaction, I let that idea sit with me for awhile. More often than not, it transforms from a crazy idea to a great idea. Why wouldn’t I start a business? Why wouldn’t I go to Vietnam?
This is a huge change in my personal perspective. Two years ago – even one year ago – I would dismiss an idea like that as impossible or not part of “the plan,” and I would not think about it again. Now, if I hear a crazy idea, I get excited. I think “Yes! It’s crazy and it’s great and I need to do that!” This shift has been instrumental in transforming the path of my life.
In June, I’m moving to Vietnam.
This idea came to me out of the blue in March. Before that I was set on applying to every marketing job abroad that I could, because I knew I wanted to live outside of the states for a few years after college. But I realized that post-graduation is the easiest time to take a calculated risk like this, and that I am in a fortunate position to have this freedom. So why wouldn’t I do it?
My plan is to teach English part-time and save money for a few months, while I practice mindfulness, dive deeper into my personal motivation and WHY factor, discover a new culture, and plan out my side projects. It partly feels like a mental break from everything I’ve been told I have to do. I envision it as a time for refocusing and refreshing my energy and efforts into uncovering what I truly want to pursue.
The vision that used to drive me was one of my future self as a successful executive in the music industry in a big, buzzing city, but the vision is ever evolving and changing into a million possibilities of who I can become and what I can accomplish. Right now my vision is to be a digital nomad and to start a business. And tomorrow it may be something completely new.
In the past six months I have spent a lot of time cutting a new path in the jungle of “the rest of my life,” one full of uncertainty – from studying abroad in England, to navigating several foreign cities, to producing a music showcase in Austin during SXSW. And every part of it has been extremely rewarding. I don’t know what the end goal is, but I know that the means, right now, is to keep creating a new path forward.