What's Next?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Want to hear something funny?  Earlier this week I coordinated an event called "What's Next?," where we attempted to help students answer that question from a number of different perspectives, especially if they are unsure of their post-college plans.  These girls think I am a grown up.  All the advice I wanted to give them sounded so cheesy, but they were totally eating it up.  I was all, "find people who support you no matter what and ignore all the others" and "pay attention to the things that scare you the most, because chances are that's what you'll end up doing" and "stop comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing."  Meanwhile...

When it comes down to it, I am an excellent giver of advice.  The best.  Seriously, need some direction about something important?  I'm your girl.  It is a skill we student affairs folks develop early.  Most of us go into student affairs because we want to sit and have coffee and talk about life.  Of course, the actual policy and paperwork and boring bits always get in the way.  We are the ones who want to discuss bucket lists and life goals and why you think the way you do about what you don't even know you think about.  This is my (dream) job.  But still, over seven years post-college, I'm not sure I still have any fantastic life plan going on over here.

Ok yes, I know what you're thinking.  I am awesome and brilliant.  You are right.  But there isn't really much of a plan going on over here in Morningside Heights.  Columbia was definitely not part of the plan, but here I am loving it.  But guess what friends?  Coursework ends in June.  I got my final semester schedule today.  Yikesabee.  How can it possibly be almost the end?  And more importantly, what's next?

Yes, I could stay in my current job until I finish my dissertation (probably hopefully December 2014).  I just don't think that's the best thing.  It's time for a new experience, new job, new challenge, and, as much as I'm not quite ready to admit it, maybe a new city.  Or at least a different experience in a different part of this city.  As much as I am not even close to being ready to leave New York, I'm not planning to stay post-June.

For one, I cannot keep spending money on plane tickets and depending on pre-booked flights to get home for holidays and family things.  I have been on more airplanes this Fall than I have been in cars.  I'm not even kidding people.  I miss the freedom of just being able to get in the car whenever I want and drive wherever I want.  I don't necessarily need to be in my hometown, but no more than a day's drive would be nice.  I used to love flying...until I had to do it.

So here's what I am kind of thinking...

That's a 580 mile radius around Oklahoma City, which I figure is about one day's drive.  (I did math.  Aren't you proud?)  Here are some highlight cities in there (or sort of close-ish) that I might consider...  

Chicago: 13 hours (but not really...maybe a little too far)
Nashville: 11 hours (I hear it's a cool place...)
Denver: 11 hours
Houston: 8 hours
Austin: 6.5 hours
Kansas City: 5.5 hours
Waco: 4.5 hours
Dallas/Fort Worth: 3 hours
Wichita: 2.5 hours (Baby Sister's basement, anyone?)
Tulsa: 1.5 hours
Anywhere in New Mexico, Nebraska, or Iowa: are you serious?
Mississippi: really, that fits in the circle?

Sometimes it seems impossible to leave New York.  Sometimes it seems like that 580 mile radius I sort of arbitrarily decided on should be more like 50 miles.  There's still that pesky business of a job search to consider.  That's a whole different issue entirely.  I want to teach.  I need to write my dissertation.  I am still hoping for the job that lets me enjoy coffee while discussing life.  

So what's next?  A city and a job and a dissertation...and more important things I just hope might happen.  But what's really next?  Who really even knows...

1 comment:

  1. 580 miles works both ways. I can't wait to visit (and drink coffee while discussing life).