I Graduated. Now What?

I am a college graduate.

This is my "I just graduated" face.
This is my “I just graduated” face.

I know, I am not entirely sure it has sunk in yet. It is, after all, only my second day as a college graduate. I haven’t even received my diploma yet. It doesn’t even feel like it is summer yet.

I’ve had plenty of people ask me, “What’s next?” I have been asked this so many times, I can feel the question coming. I know when someone is about to ask it. It’s not like I don’t have an answer. I have an answer, it’s just not a long-term answer. I don’t have a five-year plan.

This summer I will continue working my position at the Global Ministry Center for the Church of the Nazarene. I am living at the home of one of my professors and his wife because they have graciously allowed me to stay with them, and I am thankful. At my job with NYI, we are preparing for Conventions and General Assembly. It is one of the largest events put on by the Church of the Nazarene on a global level. After the Global NYI Convention, I will go home for about a week and a half. Then I will continue to work until the end of the July. I will be going home for one of my best friend’s weddings. Since I have enrolled in Seminary to get my Masters of Divinity, I will be coming back for two  weeks in August to attend classes. I have not made the arrangements, but it is looking more and more like I will then be moving home for a while and doing classes online and working (where, I don’t know).

I am continuing to learn to trust God. I am trying not to stress as much, though it is not yet been all that successful. I am seeking God’s will for my life. As one of my professors once said, “There are only two types of Christians: faithful and unfaithful.” So I am trying to be faithful. I am hoping to get some fun reading in before my pre-course work for my classes start. I am taking deep breaths and praying. I don’t know what’s next.

Shauna Niequist writes in her book, Bittersweet:

“This is the thing: when you start to hit 28 or 30, everything starts to divide, and you can see very clearly two kinds of people: on one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their deep dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. And then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to find a church, they mean to develop honest, intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in kind of an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than they were when they graduated college.”

I don’t want to be like the latter. She continues:

“Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. Walk away, try something new. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Ask yourself some good questions like: ‘Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep with me for this leg of the journey? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?’

“Now is your time. Become, believe, try. Walk closely with people you love, and with other people who believe that God is very good and life is a grand adventure. Don’t spend time with people who make you feel like less than you are. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.”

So for now, as I am adjusting to a summer routine and working my 9-5 job*, I am trying to choose to celebrate the accomplishment. I am trying to choose to celebrate the experiences I had, the knowledge I gained, and the friendships I formed. I know nothing will ever be the same as it was, but I am so grateful for my experience. I am so grateful for my professors. I am so grateful for my roommates.

Best College Roommates
Best College Roommates

*Which is not actually nine to five, but rather 7:00 to 3:30.

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