If you would have told me two years ago I’d be headed to Asia after graduation I probably would have rolled my eyes. The thought of pursuing my dreams just a month after walking across the stage and receiving my diploma still baffles me. I had it all worked out – I’d stay in the United States while I worked towards a career that would eventually allow me to travel the globe on company funds. It seemed safe, it seemed possible, it seemed reasonable. But then I received an email that promised adventure, artistic creation, and self-discovery.
“Expenses obviously paid. Equipment provided. Salary to be discussed. Awesome shit guaranteed.”
The moment I read the email I panicked. What about the safety net? The steady career path? The reasonable lifestyle? My family? My friends… I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world, meeting new people, and creating videos that would inspire and celebrate new perspectives and positive social change. But with the opportunity suddenly resting in my inbox, I felt a great fear. What if I fail? What if I get lost? What if I can’t come home when my family needs me most? What if I can’t afford my student loans? What if I get sick? What if, what if, what if… And then one of my best friends stopped me and asked, “First reaction, no thinking, where do you see yourself after graduation?”
And I heard myself say, “China.”
In the months that followed I certainly had my doubts and fears. I’ve sincerely questioned my decision to take the path less traveled and move myself out of the country for six months. But every time I pause and ask myself, “Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the right thing for myself?” The answer is always, “Yes.”
About three weeks before graduation I stumbled upon a note from my Freshman Year Seminar professor and wise friend Abby. She had said, “Don’t be afraid to embrace the fear that you might be making the wrong decisions. In fact, take comfort in the fact that you will make wrong decisions. But maybe the wrong decision will take you to the exact place you need to be to make the best decision of your life.
The world will fall in line, like a solid rhythm section, and support you wherever you may roam – and as long as the steps you take are true ones people will help you along the way.”
Freshman year me wrote to my senior year self, “After graduation, I hope you travel and explore, find yourself amongst cultures unfamiliar to your own. Live your life to the fullest and never look back. Learn from your mistakes, follow through on promises, and trust yourself.
Everything happens for a reason, and I am confident you are right where you are meant to be.”
Freshman year me was a sap. But, then again, so is my senior year self… And with that I carry every fear and every doubt, every bit of excitement and every possible dream, as I embark on an adventure of a post-grad lifetime…
Thank you to everyone who has helped influence the individual I am today and provided opportunities for me to explore the world and myself within it. I could not have done it without my parents, my little brother, my family and friends, Butler University, and those I have met along the way. Thank you for believing in me, and thank you for following me as I delve into one of the most intimidating yet memorable adventures yet…
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”