If you’re wondering, yes, this title’s post is a Motion City Soundtrack song. It’s also relevant to what I want to talk about in this post – the freaking future (and how I survived my own after I graduated).
The future can be many things – it can be exciting, it can be terrifying, but most of all, the thought of it is unsettling. Homo sapiens are relatively simple creatures that crave the tedious and dull drone of routine. We tend to hate change, not just because it is different, but because of the potential for change to be negative, imperfect, ot some other synonym for “bad”. And at the end of the day, no matter how many fortune tellers we visit or how many times we ask a Ouija board we talk to, we’ll never really know what’s in stock for us all.
A few days ago, I checked my Ask Me and encountered a question from yet another soul who is graduating but has no idea what to do with the rest of their life (I definitely didn’t when I was 18). So here is my answer in the form of a poorly written blog post/essay where. But first, let me tell you a bit about my own post-graduation timeline.
In 2013, I graduated from the University of Alberta with only the slightest of ideas of what I wanted to do with my degree. I had started blogging two years earlier in 2011 alongside my cousin, Kurtis, in hopes that: a) I’d be able to explore my pent-up creativity, and b) I wouldn’t have to spend all my time studying. Throughout my entire undergraduate degree, I thought I wanted to become a doctor (what a surprise), so when I graduated with my Bachelor of Science, I joined a Biochemistry lab as a potential postgraduate student so that I could eventually apply to the U of A’s program of Medicine. A few months later, I also started working at a contemporary womenswear boutique, spending half my 40-hour work week pipetting in the lab, and the other half asking ladies in change rooms if they needed any help. It wasn’t a very common workflow to have, but the duality of these jobs ultimately lead me to where I am now.
I can still recall the very moment in time that I forsaked my scientific “roots” to open a store. I was sitting at my laboratory bench after a few hours in a dark room, messaging Eric about how much I didn’t want to be spending the next few years looking at cells through a microscope (for the record, I had JUST received my postgraduate project, which, if I can remember correctly, had something to do with analyzing cells and their behaviours in various soluble conditions in a very dark and warm room that would make most people, including yours truly, very sleepy). I loved my lab and the friendships I had made there, but it was this a-ha moment, and Eric’s encouragement, that made me realize that maybe I didn’t want to be a doctor (like many Science students, and dare I say it, Asian Americans, are led to believe).
The point of this whole post is that you’ll never know what you want to do until you try it (after all, there’s a reason why this saying is cliché). If you had asked me five years ago what I envisioned myself working hard at, the last thing I could’ve guessed would be a store. It seems that many folks go their whole lives without finding their passions, but that’s the thing – we must find what invigorates us and takes the dread of Mondays away. It’s not easy, and it most definitely isn’t simple. I’ll bet you that there’s a 95% chance that what you thought you wanted to pursue in High School after visiting your local college or university’s open house is completely incorrect, but I think that’s the beauty in not knowing what our futures hold in stock. One second, it may look completely different than the next. All that really matters is that we try to turn our futures into something we can look forward to.