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A few weeks a go, actually I know the specific date –it was September 4th–  I had a profound realization. On that morning I emailed my friend: “I don’t want to grow up anymore. I know that may sound immature, but I feel like I have been trying to grow up my whole life, and I have just now reached the perfect point.”

That “perfect point,” was almost immediately followed by the anxiety of the reality that this year is my last year in college.  Sometimes I feel like I spend every other second of my day either trying to prepare for my imminent role as Adult, Full-Member of Society or trying to hold on to my current role as College Girl – Still trying to discover what she wants.  In the past month I have found myself staying home a lot more, only leaving for class, work, meetings, and of course when my friends occasionally convince me to go out and do that thing called “having fun.”  And when I do go out, whether it is to work, or to some kind of networking event, or even just out for drinks with friends I always do feel better, knowing that I have taken a tiny step towards (maybe) preparing for the great unknown that will be my life.

I usually love to talk about my ideas and plans for the future, but recently I have found myself dreading conversations where the question “What are you going to DO after college?” may come up.  I wouldn’t say that this question stresses me out as much as it just annoys me (sorry relatives who have asked me this!)  I have no clue what I am going to do and the ideas I do have seem to change based on the day.  My mind is constantly revising what the grand plan is and so far it seems the only things I know for certain are what I don’t want to do.

Criteria for my perfect job:

1.  I don’t want to be a teacher, or a job where I have to work with children in any capacity. I am, however, open to the idea of teaching and sharing information with my colleagues.

2. I don’t want to have the kind of 9-5 job where you drag out 3.5 hours of work over the course of the whole day.  I want a job where I have so much work to do, preferably something that I am passionate about, as opposed to tedious meaningless tasks, that at the end of the day I feel invigorated and excited to come back and tackle it the next day.

3.  I don’t want to work in a sterile, boring environment; I do want to work in a place that is full of all different kinds of creativity and exchange of ideas is encouraged all day long (both through the atmosphere and the physical arrangement of the space).

4.  I don’t want to work at a job where you eat lunch alone at your desk everyday.  I know that I need to get outside once in a while and take a break (“hit the reset button,” as my friend would say) so that when I return, I can look at projects with a fresh perspective.

5.  I want to do work that is meaningful and important to me.  I have always wanted to change the world (for the better) and I don’t want to have to waste too much time working on things that are not productive.

6.  I want a job where I can write (in various forms) and learn how to express my ideas and other people’s ideas in the best possible way.

7.  I would love to be paid to travel.

8.  Oddly, I am also interested in doing a very mechanical type job where I would be able to build things (like furniture) or fix up old houses. (This may be more of a hobby than a career interest).

9.  I am most interested in working the Public Relations (PR) industry because I have found that kind of work (thus far) to be the most exciting and fulfilling.

In this economy, I know that my list is a lot to ask, and as my grandpa pointed out, I should be thankful to have a job at all.  I certainly am thankful and I definitely know that before anyone gets their dream job, they have to pay their dues.  I am not hoping for some kind of fairy tale life — at least not right away 🙂 — but I hope that when it is time for me to enter the job market I will be able to find an employer that will help me channel all of my passion.

Downtown Chicago