It is officially the last week of my undergraduate education. Shit.
The last time I was in a similar situation, e.g. the last week of high school, I was looking out to this huge adventure that was laying before me. No, that adventure wasn't the standard orientation, matriculation, and endless hours of waiting for elevators to move into your freshman dorm. No, I was waiting to hop on a plane with nothing more than the clothes on my back, the strung around my neck, and the knowledge that I was about to enter the military as part of the United States Air Force Academy class of 2009.
Though, slightly less forboding than going out in to the "real world" as I will be in a few short weeks, given the time in my life of each, I think the feelings are incredibly similar. It's time like these that I start to reflect... and procrastinate. This week is even similar to the last week in Dublin, Ireland this time last year. We start counting off our activities as our "Last xyz" where the xyz is something that you would only do there: the last pub crawl, the last business class, the last frat party etc etc.
I am terrified that my list of lasts will miss so many things that I "should" have done while in college. I didn't have the standard freshman experience, the military had a very different path there. I didn't live on campus that first year at Boston University. I didn't have to deal with gang showers (in Boston at least) and I never really frequented the fraternities on Trashford et all.
Following that same thought process but bringing it outside of the social education one gets at college, I'm afraid that I didn't make the most out of the absolute gift of education that my parents have helped make possible for me. It is not the thought that I didn't do my best or that I took the wrong classes but the worry is more along the lines of whether I took the "right" classes or not. Did I miss an elective that would have been amazing? Was there a different professor that would have been better? Should I have stayed in Engineering and not go to business?
Thinking like this isn't productive.
I have decided that I am happy with where I am right now. I feel confident in my ability to go out into the workforce and do a great job. I know that I will succeed. That said, I cannot stop running the what if's in my head. What if I didn't go the Air Force Academy? What if Notre Dame had taken me off their waiting list? What if I had stayed in Engineering? What if?
Instead of spending hours working through the what if's of life, I have found that it is best to deal with your actual reality. What did you actually do? Why did you do it? Ok, so you've got you past, your present... where are going now that you know these other two parts? How are you going to change the world? With that, I'll leave you with one last piece of pondering:
As we are moving away from wherever has been our homes for the last 3-5+ years at school, we need to define where our home is. Home is where you go to re-energize, where you go to get in touch with yourself, where you feel at ease. For me, home is where ever I am. That is home for me because I need me to recharge, and I don't need sentimental ties to arbitrary locations.
How do YOU know that you're in the right place and that you've made the right decisions? Is it only with 20/20 hindsight that you know it?