By: Kanyn Doan
This past weekend, I watched many friends and acquaintances of mine post pictures and statuses of their success in reaching the finish line of their four years. They made it! They have graduated, and many of them are off to make the world a more beautiful, equal, and free place. Many of them are going off to pursue higher degrees, or be the activists they have always been, or are going off to teach the future generations of the earth. They are all off to do absolutely amazing things with the degrees they have (many of them being WGS majors or minors).
I have always viewed from a far in awe of these individuals, and always wondered how they decided that that… that was what they wanted to do. That they trusted in their passion and goals enough to let those experiences shape them the way they would….
It is a wonderful, terrifying, beautiful and puke provoking thing to think about.
I am not here, however, to talk about the journey we go on when we enter higher education. I could honestly write an entire book on that (stay tuned, because it will more than likely happen 🙂 ). I am here to talk about something that has been weighing on my heart and mind for a while.
I am here to talk about the after.
You know, the success and winning-driven society we live in does not set you up for the after. We go through four (which is quickly turning into five or six) years of constantly questioning whether we are good enough, smart enough, capable enough, and even able to make it in the world we live in. There are days I question if my passion to make the world a better place for not only myself, but for every single fellow human being of mine, is reachable and practical. Unfortunately, we are not guaranteed a surviving position in life after we go through those four to six years of unease, stress, and constant questioning.
I have carried myself throughout my college career with the philosophy that I was not going to make plans. I have trusted in my skills, abilities and knowledge enough to know that doors will in fact open for me, some unexpectedly, some coming completely from left field, but all teaching me something that I will be able to learn from, and carry with me on the rest of my journey. I never wanted to set out a solid path for myself, because I feared that I would be shutting doors in the process. I want my heart, mind, and arms to be wide open to the world. I want to grasp on to every experience that will benefit me, challenge me, and aid in me becoming the help and resource I wish to be in the world.
That is all really easy for me to type out and say, but truth is, I am absolutely terrified.
I try really hard to not psych myself out while thinking about the fact that in a year from now, I will have a Bachelors of Passion (what I am deciding to call it, due to the fact that Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is exactly that for me). I will be able to go, do, and be anything I want to!
Again, easy for me to say, hard to wrap my head around.
What I am trying to say, and what I have been trying to say throughout these last few pages is, I am terrified because I am not sure what I want.
So many individuals have told me to not worry about the future right now, that I have time to figure things out, and that I need to trust in myself enough to not freak out.
However (comma) I AM FREAKING OUT.
I have talked to many individuals, and while talking to one of them in particular, the individual told me to not forget what I get excited about. While deciding on where I want to go, what I want to do, and what I want to do, to never forget about what makes me excited, sets my heart on fire, and drives me to do the work I do everyday.
The funny thing about that “thing” that I get excited about and am most passionate about is, it doesn’t have a description, a definition or even a word or sentence to sum it up. I can not even put in to words what excites me, because what excites me is the thought of moving into the middle of a forest far away from here, looking over mountains, feeling as if I have reached the highest most beautiful part of the world, talking to individuals who do not know what cell phones are, who work together in a community, who read books, who talk to each other, who rely on the earth to support them rather than going to the nearest Wal-Mart to buy whatever the newest fad is (which is probably something they already have.)
What excites me is the thought of not concerning myself with time, or how much money I need to make this month in order to live under a roof, or even eat. What excites me is the thought of going to a city where no one knows my name, going to a coffee shop, listening to conversations I literally cannot translate, and being completely content in the fact that I do not know, and that is totally okay. What excites me is the thought of existing, and that being enough. What excites me is the thought of freedom.
What excites me is not something that pays the bills, however.
There are so many programs and organizations in place that make the experiences and passions I just attempted to describe accessible; however, something just isn’t clicking for me.
There is something in the back of my head that is constantly waiting for that moment where I go “a-ha!” and am finally able to see the avenue where I am able to put my truest passions to work.
I am unlike any human on this earth, just as every human is, and I know that there is something big waiting out there for me.
(If you haven’t noticed already, I have to constantly tell myself “patience is a virtue,”, even though in reality, it is extremeleyyyyyyyyy difficult.)
So, here I sit, another individual who is freaking out about what they are going to do after they graduate from college, how it will fall into place, and someone who really does not even have the slightest idea where they see themselves a year from now.
It will be as much of a surprise to you as it will be to me to see where I end up in this huge world we live in. Like my mom always says, the world is my oyster! There are going to be days where I freak out because I don’t have a plan yet, and might possibly not have a plan until weeks after graduating. I know all of us will, though. The future is constantly being thrown in our face as an unknown abyss that the world expects for us to be taken captive in, and to be chewed up and spit out in as well.
What I am going to attempt to do when the future and all of its expectations starts to cave in on me is think of times where I felt invincible, and to think of the things, experiences, people and passions that make me feel invincible as well. Times when I felt as if everything was going to be okay, no matter what life threw my way. Where I trusted in myself enough to know that I will always be able to figure it out, no matter how impossible it may seem. Where I didn’t question if I was good enough or not; where I knew I was enough because I am a human and I am unlike any other being you will ever see. Where I knew that I had something to say, and that I had the right to say it. Where I knew that my ultimate goals and fantasies for the condition of this earth may never be reached, but that never meant they were not worth visualizing and chasing. Where I knew that I was important, and that a red letter on a piece of paper or number on a scale was not the measurement of my worth. Where I knew that I could do, say and be anything and everything I was.
Now I tell you, friend, to always think of the passions, experiences, people and words that make you feel invincible. There are more forces in our world that tell you how incapable you are rather than how magnificent you are, and I am not sure if that will change anytime soon. However, I am here to remind you, (as well as myself), that we are all capable of doing every single we love. We must always be setting ourselves on fire with the passions that burn in our tummies, hearts and souls, and forever remembering that we were put on this earth, in this galaxy, in the middle apart of this wonderful universe, to be heard, seen, and recognized for everything we are.
I rest easy in the fantasy that one day I will be able to climb mountains, hills and valleys that humans have not tarnished yet, see and experience spaces on this earth that cannot and never will be able to be described using the human language, and meet people who will join me on my journey of freedom.
I have been able to visualize and feel invincibility within myself because of the experiences I have had, people I have met, and knowledge I have learned through the Women, Gender and Sexuality Department. I can’t really tell you what I am going to be when I grow up, nor what I want to be exactly…but I am sure I will figure it out somehow. This department has geared me with the courage, strength, passion and desire I need to obtain all of the goals I want to in life. My family, this department, and every experience I have been blessed with have instilled in me the trust and excitement I have for life.
So before I write an entire book for you, I will end in saying that you may be feeling this way, whether you are in the same shoes as I am, or will be someday, and I will leave you with what I said before, and what I am going to attempt to remind myself every single day until I feel as if I am doing the work I was created to do: remember what makes you feel invincible, and never let go of that.
Good luck on all of your adventures and explorations, friends! I know you will succeed, you may fail, but you will only learn along the way ☺
All the best,