If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You’ll Be Lost When You Get There

This past week, I have been seriously questioning what I am doing with my life.  I’ve been out of college for a year and a few months now.  I’ve been at my job (which was only suppose to be a starting point) for over a year and I”m still living with the ‘rents.  Living at home certainly has some perks – my mom does my laundry, (don’t judge, I swear she just loves doing laundry! 🙂 ) still get home cooked meals and I don’t pay rent. 

On the downside, every day is like a game of 20 questions with her.  I can’t go anywhere without her asking who, what, where, when, why and how.  “Why aren’t you going out?” “Why do you go out all the time?”  “Where are you going?”  “Who are you going with?”  “Why are you hanging out with him?”  “Why did you stay up so late last night?” “Are you coming home later?”  “Who’s house are you sleeping at?”  “Did you brush your teeth?” “Did you comb your hair?” “Did you really wear THAT to work?” 

Oh . My . God .  I love her but the questions drive me  i n s a n e.

As for Dad, when The Ex would come over, the same rule that applied when I was 16 was back in effect.  “If you two are upstairs in your room, the light has to stay on and the door has to be open.”  Apparently, I am still in high school.

So anyways, I feel like I’ve got my feet on the ground with a steady job and a growing savings account and soon I should fly the coup.  This is where the stress, axiety, and questions begin.  I could stick with my plan to move to Philly and get a marketing job.  I could stay at home and go to grad school here.  I could try to figure out a way to afford living on my own AND going to school.  But really, HOW will I afford that?  And if I move to Philly and get a new job, will I EVER go back to school or will I be stuck?  Cue the anxiety – my heart would start racing, my chest felt tight, my hands got clammy and then I would stop thinking about it  – I couldn’t deal.

Oh, have I ever mentioned I am literally the WORST decision maker EVER?  With everything – what to order for dinner, what color shirt to buy, and of course important life decisions, uh like choosing a major.

But today, I at least made one very significant decision and I’m really excited about it… I want to get my masters in School Counseling.  I have my degree in Marketing and I’ve never put it to use.  I always thought I should try it before I give up and go back to school but the truth is I don’t like the corporate environment.  I don’t want to spend my life in a cube or sitting at my desk in front of a computer.  I like talking to people, I like listening, I like helping and I want a job that will fulfill me.  And although I think I would be happy with a marketing job, I don’t think it will give me the satisfaction I’m looking for.

If you asked me why I chose Marketing, I couldn’t really tell you.  It sounded like an interesting major so I went with it (see, bad decision maker.. eventually got frustrated and just picked one!)  My second semester of Sophmore year I freaked out and realized that I didn’t really want to be a Business major anymore, I wanted to do school counseling.  I told my parents and they basically talked me out of it.  “Your just feeling overwhelmed by your classes right now.”  “Psychology is a bullshit major.”  “You’ll be fine, just give it time.”  So I gave it time and before I knew it I had graduated.

But if you asked me why I want to be a School Counselor, I could tell you without hesitation.  When I was in high school I had a counselor I talked to, I confided in, who picked me up when I was down and helped me through some darker days.  High school is no picnic – break ups, catty girls, peer pressure, it ain’t easy.  It really helped to have someone to talk to and to know that I had someone to turn to during the bad stuff.  I want to be able to offer students the same thing I was lucky enough to have.  I feel in my gut like it is what I am suppose to be doing.

So I figure that’s the big decision I needed to make… and all the other details I will just have to figure out in time.  Now, I just have to break the news to my Mom and deal with the 20 bazillion questions that will be asked… oh lord, I can hear her already.



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15 responses to “If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, You’ll Be Lost When You Get There

  1. one decision at a time is a good thing. and school counseling? a great field- i almost went for a job in that myself. try and just focus on one thing at a time, and eventually, you’ll get there.

    do you have any friends who are looking to move too, that you could rent with or something for now?

  2. longredcape

    I just started looking at getting my MBA from Georgia Tech with this awesome Global Business program they have — but it costs $70k! YIKES!

  3. Oh wow, I know ALLLLLL about what you’re talking about. Definitely don’t be so hard on yourself. I selected a major (English and Comparative Literature) because I couldn’t make a decision. When I graduated, I entertained everything from going back for my PhD to getting into PR. I ended up moving back home and taking a job as an assistant “temporarily.”

    It took me three years to move out of my parents’ house. I’m still at that job (though I’ve been promoted several times and am definitely no longer an assistant). The point is, these things take time. I took forever to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and, like you, it’s so far afield of what I originally was educated to do.

    You’ll get there. In the meantime, just try to breathe through those tight-chested moments 🙂

  4. Good for you! The first step is finding out what you want to do and then going after it. Great job! ITA with you on living at home. I did for 1.5 years and near the end it was rough. I wanted to be on my own and get away from the naggy questions (which were well-intentioned). When dad heard I wanted to move, he tried to sweeten the deal for me to stay at home but I just couldn’t do it. Although I was saving money like a fiend.

  5. Cindy Thomas

    It sounds like you don’t need to make a decision about WHAT you want to do. You KNOW what you want to do. Follow your heart.

    You can take steps in that direction without having to make any final “decisions.” For example, a first step is to look into different programs at different schools that you might like. Have you done this?

    I think the only decision you need to worry about “making” is NOT taking steps in the direction you want to go. If you do NOT start looking into schools, you have effectively made a decision NOT to go to school. There are a lot of steps you can take without making a final decision or committment. By being proactive, you can keep your options open.

    Since the economy is so bad, this may be a good time to start thinking about graduate school for Fall ’09 or Fall ’10. I imagine the interest rates on loans wouldn’t be any worse than usual and you would buy yourself some time away from this crappy job market.

    Follow your heart and take one step at a time.

  6. wonderor

    I think the questioning mother is universal. Just had a huge fight with mine. I’m 24, and over here, young single girls don’t live on their own if in the same country as their parents! It rocks, having everything so easy, but the older you get you really start to feel it. So you are lucky to even have the option! good luck with your masters, you should def do what you like doing 🙂

  7. Psychology is not a bullshit major. I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. I love what I do for a living and make a great living at it.

    Never let someone else tell you how to find happiness in your life. Only you can make that call. Tell the rest of them to suck it 🙂

  8. Always do what you love. Everything else is a waste of time. Don’t ever let someone talk you out of your dreams.

    There, that’s my motherly advice.

  9. Krys

    I just went through some similar things. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to parental figures and tell them that YOU know what’s right for you even when they don’t think you do. The thing is, once you begin having the confidence to do what you want, they’ll begin to come around. My family did. And, if this huge, overbearing Catholic family can begin to come around, any familiy can!

  10. Krys

    Also, I love your title – SO TRUE!

  11. laylou

    Hey Little Miss:

    When I finished college four years ago, I moved home for eight months. Eight months of questions. Eight months of “why should we take care of your dog when you go out for the night?” It wasn’t all bad, I did save a TON of money (which I promptly spent when I moved out on security depostis furniture and living) and my parents are awesome.

    I just moved to a new apartment and in hindsight I should have moved home again in light of the economy and etc.

    As for school- follow your heart. Grad school is great, but I’m also working full-time so life is certainly busy. Fortunately my company pays for my schooling so that helps out.

    Good luck!

  12. Wow, thats a huge decision…but if you’re sure- its best to make that decision now as opposed to when you’re 40.

    I applaud your bravery…good luck telling the rents.

  13. Brookem – I’ve found I HAVE to only focus on one thing at a time or else I just get too overwhelmed! And I think it’s best to just put up with living at home until I figure out exactly what I’m doing about school. Thanks for the input. 🙂

    LRC – Good lord – 70k!?!? That is just craziness…

    Lil – Thank you! I know these things take time and I think maybe because I feel like so many of my friends already know exactly what they want to do, I put more pressue on myself about it.

    Jessica – Thank you! And I know the questions from my parents are well- intentioned also but I’m just starting to wear thin after a year and a half… Obviously you can understand 😉

    Cindy – I’ve started looking at schools and I’m hoping to go back in Fall ’09. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

    Wonderer – After I wrote this post, I brought it up to my friends about how naggy my mother can be and all the flippin questions and it turns out ALL OUR MOMS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME.. hehe and they all mean well.

    Elizabeth- I know, I should have fought harder to switch to Psychology but I wasn’t 100% sure and it’s hard to argue with the people paying most of your tuition. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Monkey Girl – Thanks so much for the motherly advice, I think you’re very right. 🙂

    Krys – I know exactly what you are saying. I also know that my family will support me. I just know in the beginning there will be a lot of questioning and concerns but I think you’re right – I think they will come around.

    Laylou – Thanks! Living at home may financially be the best decision but the freedom that comes with living on your own is worth the added money stress I’m sure. 🙂

    Matt – Exactly, it’s so much better to go back now rather than wait and possibly NEVER go back. And thanks! still haven’t told them yet! eeks

  14. hurtin4certain

    Your parents already may know, deep down, that you will fly away and it will be big time when you do. The day I told my dad I was moving out, moving all the way across the country to live with my boyfriend and become a cop, I expected a huge scene. Not all. He asked me if I was sure. I wasn’t, but I didn’t say that. Skip ahead 18 years. He thinks my job ROCKS and hates my ex husband. He misses me so much but knows that I am happy. That is all that matters to a parent. If I wasn’t happy or needed to come home to regroup, the door was always open. It still is. They never stop being there for you, they just aren’t going to be in the next room.

  15. Pingback: Randomness, I has it. « Little Miss Obsessive

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