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Saturday, May 18, 2024
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It’s getting harder to believe that I’ll graduate next year. What do I do after all of this? Maybe I’ll become a corporate sell-out, maybe I’ll land a remote job and backpack around Europe or maybe I’ll just move back in with my parents. I’m spoiled for choice and lost in trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be. 

Do I need to prioritize a realistic life or should I take a chance, go against the norm and live the life that I know I’ll value most? I want to be able to share stories and be proud of everything I’ve done in my lifetime. Am I just being young and naive to think I need to do everything while I still can? 

Post-grad is really where it becomes apparent that our education, dreams and the practical world collide. I’ve noticed that knowing what we don’t want is the first step toward knowing what we do want. This involves exploring different job opportunities to discover what feels right. It's a process of trial and error, a way to understand what truly aligns with our passions and strengths, as well as the things that don’t quite match our goals. 

Take the time to try out different roles or internships that align with your passions. This will provide you with firsthand experience and insights into different industries, helping you make informed decisions about your future career.

One of the most important things to think about is what success means to you. Who do you want to be when you’re 65 years old, but also, where do you want to be? Success is such a subjective concept, largely shaped by our unique experiences and perspectives. 

To shape your definition, it's essential to think about your values, passions and goals. Consider what specific achievements or milestones would truly fulfill and satisfy you. 

Success isn't just about wealth or status; it's about fulfilling your biggest desires. When you truly understand what success means to you, you can set meaningful goals and make decisions that align with your vision for the future.

Your experiences and perspectives define your success, and this will evolve as you grow. It's crucial to find personal fulfillment — the real key to success. Balancing your dreams with practicality is doable, but make sure to choose a path that matches your aspirations while considering life's realities. 

Taking risks can lead to fantastic experiences and growth! Success means different things to different people, so shape your definition instead of following expectations. Living authentically often leads to more fulfilling experiences.

It's common to feel a rush to achieve everything while young. While our youth comes with once in a lifetime opportunities, I need to remind myself that life is a series of chapters. Some dreams can and will have to wait, and that's perfectly fine. Adopting this perspective can lead to a more fulfilling journey. 

As you move through life's different phases, you'll gain valuable experiences and wisdom, forming the core of your narrative, and influencing who you are and where you're going. 

Be present in every moment. Know that each step contributes to your ultimate story of success and happiness. There's no strict timeline for achieving your dreams — what matters most is how earnestly you pursue them when the time feels right for you.

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If you're inclined toward a secure traditional career, it can be just as rewarding. Many find contentment in growing expertise and climbing the corporate ladder. However, if adventure and following your passions are your calling, don't be scared to go into the unconventional.

The key is to find a balance between dreams and life's practicalities. Consider your financial needs, your willingness to take risks and your need for stability. Explore various job opportunities to gain a better understanding of your interests and skills. 

Finding a balance between dreams and practicalities is a continuous process. It may require some trial and error, but by considering these factors and taking proactive steps toward exploring your options, you can make confident choices that align with both your aspirations and the realities of life.

Mia Orris is a UF psychology junior.

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