Graduation is one week from tomorrow. I will officially receive my BA in Business and I can definitely tell you that my graduating self is so much different from my freshman self. My understanding of myself is different, my understanding of my wants is different, my goals for the future make so much more sense, and even where I am now is so much different than what I’d ever imagined four years ago. Let me elaborate.
The freshman me wanted to be a million different people, it would honestly change weekly. I wanted to be perfect, smart, beautiful Blair Waldorf. No- I wanted to be rebellious, glitter-loving Kesha. No wait- I wanted to be sexy, every man’s dream Megan Fox. New week, new person I wanted to be. Somewhere in the last four years, my mindset has changed from wanting to be someone else to wanting to be the best possible me! I realize that everyone has good traits and everyone has traits that they can improve on. So rather than trying to morph myself into a Kia-Blair, I began recognizing what it was that she did to emphasize her strengths, and applied those techniques to myself.
I still love Blair Waldorf (I will never lose my love of Gossip Girl). She’s Queen B, she is sophisticated and allows nothing less than perfection. But hold on, I was an introvert trying to be an extrovert. I was a broke college freshman (in Minnesota) trying to be a rich Upper East Sider. That just doesn’t work. Rather, what I actually could learn from Blair that emphasized my own personality was her brains and her organization. I could learn about the things that actually interest me, I could plan and strategize any and every aspect of my life to my heart’s content. The things I began teaching myself about and the plans I made for myself had absolutely nothing to do with Blair Waldorf’s life – they had to do with mine. Similarly, I found the same with Kesha and Megan Fox. Instead of trying to become a crazy, glittery party girl, I just learned that there really isn’t anything anyone can do to stop you from expressing yourself. Honestly, I hate partying. But the biggest obstacle people could give me for expressing myself in a way that is against social norms is their words, and I’ve decided I’m alright with that. Rather than practicing how to make seductive faces in the mirror and trying to figure out how to master Megan’s smoky eye, I learned I just needed to be more confident in my own body, because only Megan can have Megan’s body. I began getting into better shape and appreciating my own assets, because similarly, only I will ever have my body and if I want to love it then it’s my responsibility to get it to a state that I love.
So essentially, somewhere on this road I learned the root of why I wanted to be these people that I so deeply envied, and I applied it to myself and my own unique traits. This is probably the biggest development I’ve ever recognized myself go through.
Understanding my Wants
As a freshman, I actually started in the same major as I graduated with – Business Administration with an Emphasis in Human Resources Management. The difference is, I wanted it because I wanted money. I wanted a big title at the corporate giant I’ve been with for almost six years. I wanted a BMW and to watch people’s eye brows go up when I told them what I did. I changed majors a few times before going back. I studied psychology probably the longest other than business – it’s still my favorite subject. But I don’t want to pursue psychology. I’m much more interested in the theories than I am the application, which drew me back to business. I chose business because I began to recognize I wanted freedom, and in order to achieve freedom, I needed the basic skills to support freedom. I chose Human Resources because I know I want to help people, so I was able to go over in depth theories of what has and hasn’t worked in the past. I didn’t choose it to try and stay in the corporate structure like many desire, but rather the opposite – to get out.
I began recognizing that I was (and still am for one more week) living a work life that society saw as “desirable”. It’s at a big corporation, I make a good chunk of money, I get good benefits, it’s as secure as job security can get right now (which isn’t saying much), it’s an awesome company name to slap on a resume, and there’s a Caribou Coffee (for non-midwesterners, Caribou is our equivalent to Starbucks) inside our office along with about a million other things to make life convenient. It all sounds so great if you don’t think too hard about it. But I began to notice myself fitting in less and less the more I began to recognize who I really am. I’m laid back, if I’m a few minutes late to something, I really don’t see that as being a day ruiner. I’m independent, I don’t understand why there’s a difference where or when I get my work done if it doesn’t involve collaboration involving someone else’s schedule. There were just a lot of pieces of my personality that began to stand out (according to certain leadership) in a not so positive way. I like a sense of fulfillment more than I like a bonus check, I’d much rather go home at the end of the month knowing I helped people than getting a little extra money knowing all I did was support someone who marks up prices for the benefit of nothing more than their own pocketbook.
That’s how I discovered I don’t fit the corporate structure. That doesn’t mean no one does, absolutely it’s a good model for many people. But for someone free-spirited and fulfillment seeking like myself, it just doesn’t make me happy. I want to be able to be creative, I want to make plans and remake plans as things change, I want to be able to see how what I do benefits someone else, and I want it to be at the right times, not at forced times just because that’s what someone decided.
My Future Goals
I’ve talked about the future a lot. I’ve begun to recognize my desire to learn more about yoga than how good it’ll make my butt look in my yoga pants. I want to fully learn the spirituality side of it. I want to learn how I can apply it to all parts of my life. I want to teach it to others once I fully understand. I also know I want to help others in their health and fitness journeys, that’s something I care deeply about and understand the importance of, so anyone else who needs motivation along the way, I want to be there. I know I want to incorporate nature and creativity into my future. Both are beautiful and anything beautiful deserves to be shared with the world. I want to raise my daughter to be confident in herself and just accept the things that she loves, regardless of whether or not they are what’s popular or cool. I want to camp more to be closer to nature and spend more time with my boyfriend, baby and huskies. Mostly, I want my future to be focused on the things I actually love and see value in, not just what’s going to make me the most money to spend in the 10% of time that’s leftover after I make that money.
This is kind of crazy because as a freshman, all I imagined was graduating, getting my BMW, maybe going for my MBA because why not, working my way up as a manager, getting a huge house, maybe a motorcycle and a convertible.. All of these materialistic things. It’s crazy because as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that materialistic items only hold their value and their awe for so long. Now I’m about to have a daughter. I definitely didn’t think I would be having a baby this soon. It makes me realize, when I’m talking to her when she’s older, do I want to be able to tell her stories of all the things I bought her while I was missing at work? Or do I want to be able to show her pictures from the times we went hiking and camping, or the art we made together? Maybe she changed my perspective, but so much light has been shed on my true values the past few years.
Of course, as I mentioned. Not everyone is going to agree with the things I’ve said because everyone wants different things. And I mean that genuinely. I know so many people at my corporate office that are so happy. That’s because we are all different people with different personalities, different values, and different goals in life. That’s true diversity and no one is wrong in what they genuinely want.
Think back a few years and compare your own mindset changes. You may be surprised in how much you’ve grown, too.
Free Spirit Babe