The Impatient Kayaker

lifesaver.pngI have a little problem with patience. I blame one of the kids I went to elementary school with. He and I were always battling to see which one of us was a little bit smarter than the other. After a couple years, we realized we got the same scores on just about every test we ever took, so we began competing to see who could finish the test first.

Of course I wish this had never happened, because to this day, I have to be the first in the lecture hall to turn in my Scantron sheet. 100 multiple choice questions — that should take no more than 15 minutes, right? And three essay questions — that’s 40 minutes tops.

I have only recently begun to allow myself to re-check my test after I’m done filling in the bubbles, applying hints the professor might have accidentally left in the end of the test to correct mistakes I may have made on the first couple pages. And I don’t turn in first drafts as papers any more. They may be A material in high school, but it only took one semester at SU to learn that they’re B+ at best. If nothing else, there’s always going to be a careless typo on the third page. Despite this realization, I still like to bang out a 10 page paper in no more than four hours.

I suffer from severe and chronic impatience. Being last, for me, was just never an option. So you can imagine how distressing it can be to feel like one of the only seniors at Syracuse University with absolutely no clue what I’m going to do after graduation. All four of my roommates have their plans all made up in their heads. They know the want to do Teach For America, or graduate school, or which area they are going to move to after graduation so they can dive into their chosen field.

I don’t even have a time zone figured out. Alaska sounds nice. So does Alabama. Not to mention my overwhelming love for Washington, D.C. — what I wouldn’t give to go back there, or another top market like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, or New York. But what are the chances of that for someone fresh out of journalism school, battling against the hundreds (more like thousands) of recently unemployed journalists who have lost their jobs due to buyouts and budget cuts.

I look at my friends who have already applied to fellowship programs, law schools, and top-notch jobs and wonder how they decided their choices were for them. Don’t get me wrong; I know I want to be in the journalism field. I’ve known for… well, forever. I want to work as an editor and move my way up the ranks, but the question is, where do I want to start? Does it matter?

vacationclub.gifPart of me wants to do something exciting, like pack up two suitcases and drive my station wagon out to Montana for a three-year stint at a newspaper in the middle of nowhere. Another part wants to move to the city on a wing and a prayer. Still another part wants to stay within a two-hour radius of at least one of my best friends, so I don’t have to go on this new adventure all by myself.

But while it’s exciting and invigorating to think that six months from now I could be anywhere in North America, it’s also scary to think that for the first time in my life I have no idea what the next step is. And it’s even scarier to think that I might be in last place for once — the undecided boat is quickly emptying out, and before I know it I’m going to be paddling alone to God knows where.

In the mean time, I guess I’ll just learn to swim in case of emergency.

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One Response

  1. Maggie, we’ve discussed this. You’re going to move to Denver and get a place with a view of the Big Blue Bear, and then in another year, I’ll join you and we’ll spend our time picking up hotties at The Tattered Cover.


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