In the past two weekends, some of my closest friends have walked across a stage, shaken the hands of their university’s president, smiled for a picture, and walked away with a symbol of their greatest achievement thus far: their Bachelor’s degree.
Man, that moment goes by fast. A 4+ year journey for that *maybe* 4 minute journey across the stage to celebrate it. But then comes the food, the drinks, the celebration with friends and family. It’s all about you on this day, this weekend, and it goes by almost too fast… Because then come the questions:
“Do you have a job yet?”
“Which job do you think you’ll take?”
The truth is, when I graduated undergrad over a year ago, I hadn’t been accepted at a single one of the graduate programs I’d applied to yet. I was thrilled to graduate, but highly adept at ducking that question I frankly had no answer to. Luckily I was given the news within the next week of my graduation that I’d been accepted by a couple different programs, but it’s a terrifying feeling when your life is one giant question mark. And even though my next graduation is just a little less than a year away now, I’m already feeling the stress of the impending, “What’s next?” after I graduate from grad school.
While I won’t know exactly where I’ll be working for months now, I do have these plans set:
Yesterday, I just submitted my passport application for the very first time. I finally ripped the band-aid towards something I’ve been dreaming about doing for ages now: OVERSEAS TRAVEL! And here’s why:
Last month, on my 22nd birthday, I had the pleasure of attending a private concert to see Hunter Hayes perform at the University of Tampa. In the days leading up to that concert, I was binge-listening to all of his latest music so I wouldn’t feel like an awko taco not knowing a song.
One song in particular really stood out to me, even though he didn’t play it on the night of the concert. It’s called, “Suitcase.” If you’d like to better understand, even if you’re not a country music fan, I encourage you to take a listen to it:
“Tell me why we’ve got all this stuff, and still no time?”
“I don’t need it anyway, if I can’t pack it in a suitcase.”
“Really what else do we need, if the sky and the stars come free?”
In one catchy song, Hunter Hayes put into words how I’ve been feeling for a while now. What’s the point of having a bunch of stuff if you have no time to enjoy it, because you spend all your time working just to buy more stuff to distract you? It’s an endless cycle that keeps you from your goals.
Don’t get me wrong; I love to shop and spend, especially after a hard day or a hard week (finals week was brutal on my wallet…). But then, knee deep in post-purchase shame I usually realize I just bought something I didn’t really need and that doesn’t make a tough day feel any better, especially when I remember this:
Every unnecessary shopping trip just makes me feel that much farther away from taking the overseas trip I’ve been dying for.
And what’s really stopping me from going? I can think of 4 good reasons:
1. A general fear of the unknown.
2. Parental overprotection (I doubt many parents would be thrilled about their 20-something daughter traveling overseas without them… or weapons).
But that’s normal; everyone probably fears that to a certain degree. Finally:
3. Lack of time.
4. Lack of money.
For most people who aren’t studying abroad and therefore using (or abusing!) financial aid, a lack of money and time are big barriers towards traveling out of the country. But the more travel blogs I read, the more I realize it’s all just a matter of priorities. You’ll never just find time to travel; you have to make time. You’ll never just happen to have thousands of dollars lying around to travel with; you have to save that money.
If I can just channel all the money I blow on unnecessary shopping into saving towards a trip, there’s no reason why I can’t take an overseas trip like all of my friends and former classmates are too. I’ve been really digging my heels into the ground when it comes to my spending and working to build a savings, so why not save towards a tangible goal? I’ve been delaying the gratification of overseas travel for years, so why not give myself the ultimate reward of an overseas trip after earning my final degree?
One of my biggest regrets from my undergraduate studies was never studying abroad. After speaking with a manager of mine, she was the one who convinced me that taking a trip after graduation before I start my career is the way to go.
She, like me, went straight from undergraduate school into graduate school, and had never been out of the country prior to starting pharmacy school. She told me that her goal after finishing pharmacy school, before she ever started working as a pharmacist, was to rip the proverbial band-aid and vacation in Europe before she was hopelessly committed to her career.
No more excuses. If she can do it, before she ever made a cent within her career field, then so can I.
May 2017, after I get that final degree, I’m coming for you, Europe.