Justin Tadlock

What Next?

What can you do with an English major? That has been a concern for me ever since I stepped into my first upper-level English course.

This runs parallel to the major question in any person’s life, especially a soon-to-be college graduate’s: What am I supposed to do? Or, what next? We’re always trying to find a purpose in life. But, the truth is, I have found few people who know what their purpose in life is or what they want to do with the time they have.

Me? The only thing I know how to do is school. And I’m not really that good at it either. But it’s what I’ve been doing for almost 18 years now. So, the only thing I can think of to do next is more school. I have decided to take it to the next level after I graduate in May with an English degree. The plan is to get a Master’s in Education. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to teach for the rest of my life. It means that I want to have another option for when I have to decide what it is I’m supposed to do next. Nothing’s set in stone just yet, though. I have to get into graduate school first.

I guess I’m at that point in most college students’ lives. I’m trying to figure it all out. And I’ve only got six months left to do that in. Plus, I still have to find a real job after I graduate. What fun?

I don’t feel ready.

Sometimes I feel like I’ll be an important person, that I will accomplish great things in life. Other times, I’m just as confused as I’m feeling at this moment. I need to build a resume? I need to develop interview skills? I need to have a portfolio of my work? I need to do this, and I need to do that?

I know that no one can know what the future holds. However, we are still expected to know what we are supposed to do as a career. The first step is probably stepping out in the world. Get your feet wet. Learn how to handle criticism and rejection. Learn how to be unknowing and still accept that everything will be all right.

I know it’s a different world out there, but I don’t know how different. That’s what scares me the most.