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Jennifer Langione Headshot

In Transit: From College to Cubicle

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I stared blankly at the "Micro Bio" line on my blogger profile. Until last week, "Senior, Bucknell University" had been written neatly in this space. As I sat with my hands poised over the keyboard, the issue was not that I didn't have anything to write but rather that I was in denial -- I was no longer in college.

Although I'm fortunate to have landed a job in my desired industry, I don't feel ready to be a professional yet, let alone an adult. When I look in the mirror, I don't see the mature college graduate I imagined I would be. As college students, we spent four years reaping the freedoms of young adulthood without being occupied by financial stress or parental responsibilities. Now we must start paying for rent, food and transportation. Our summers have been long and stress-free but from now on they will be washed away inside cramped cubicles and sterile, air-conditioned office buildings.

Some of us may choose to be students again while others may end up working in finance, but the paths we'll take to get there have not been drawn out -- it feels as though someone has put a ball of clay in the palm of our hands and told us to mold it into a concrete vision. There are no directions and no rules but eventually we should have a structure that brings us happiness. While I'm uncertain about where I'll end up and the steps I'll take in between, I'm anxious to start molding my clay and begin this new phase of life. One thing I do know, however, is that this is just the beginning of my life in transit.

For the last 21 years, I have made decisions with a mentality of permanence, such as choosing a college with the intention of staying there for all four years. Now, though, this approach doesn't seem realistic. I will begin my career in marketing because that's what peaks my interest right now. While we can't possibly predict what will make us happy in five years or what our "Micro Bio" will read 10 years from now, we can focus on what feels right in the present. I often ask myself how I can be so sure that the marketing industry is the best fit for me since I studied English and Spanish in college; the truth is, I don't know but now is the time to find out. My ultimate goal is to land a job at a company where I could see myself indefinitely. Until then, I'm keeping my mind open and I'm prepared to bounce around.

In this transitional phase as a recent college graduate, I'm celebrating the question marks, the blank spaces and the "Insert Identity Here" line. Many of us, including myself, spent the first week after graduation in a state of shock. I've realized, though, that our time would be better spent if we embraced the uncertainty and inevitable change ahead. I'm excited to watch my ball of clay transform, break and finally come together again over the course of my life. After all, one of the greatest characteristics about clay is its malleability; until we fire it in the kiln, we can keep changing it. Perhaps one day I'll look down at the colorful, glazed sculpture I have created and speak confidently about my passions and identity. I'm hopeful that someday I will not have to distinguish between that which I'm passionate about and that which I do for a living.