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May 25, 2009

‘so, what are you going to do now?’

Filed under: blog — nicoletung @ 2:09 pm

It’s the question I’m sure most college graduates were getting, and still are getting– ‘So, what are you going to do now? What’s next?’– Sometimes it’s asked with a mixed look of varying sentiment: mostly of curiosity, and often tinged with suppressed sympathy.

On my graduate end of things, giving an answer is obligatory, even if I myself am totally unsure of what’s next. I’ve been saying, for the most part, that I’ll be here in New York for the summer, looking to run away in the fall, to halfway across the world where I’ve never been, but am fascinated by, and it will be akin to a rebirth of sorts. Those particular plans are still very much afloat, amorphous, and totally, seemingly, utterly impossible at this given time. I’m coming down from the high of get-your-act-together-before-graduation, then actually graduating, and not remembering much of how I felt because it was a blur. Over the past few weeks I’ve silently been a nervous wreck, worried over how I wouldn’t actually make it to commencement because I’d miserably fail a required math course (which I of course left to the last semester of college)– but hurrah, I passed. Now that it’s over (and am relieved to know the extent of math I’ll have to do is calculating risk of death and taxes), now that I know I’ll be receiving my diploma in the mail, and that the euphoria of those celebrations are passed, here comes the reality. 

For all those riding the similar wave as I, this post is for you.

Despite the walls that seem to be crumbling down before our eyes, in the economy, in the world, that begets many more social ills that we’re possibly willing to endure, that often begets social chaos in certain places, I wholeheartedly believe there’s a place for us to look at adversity in the light of an opportunity. After all, what is a lesson without a challenge, and what is a life without learning from (stupid) mistakes. 

I have been told by photographers and journalists who are quite a bit older than me about the journalism industry lately, ‘it’s pretty terrible, pretty bleak’, and while I take it in, I won’t absorb it. This example I’m using in journalism can be applied to pretty much any aspect of the current labor market, and here’s my musing for the day, idealistic by far, hopeful at best: I know there will be many obstacles, many frustrations, things that will make me wonder what the hell I’m doing, why, for whom, and maybe even how best to get myself out of it. But this is what I’ll keep reminding myself until I’ve succeeded an inch: part of the joy of being young is having ideals, having the mind for opportunism and optimism (albeit cautiously, where it’s warranted) and having the flexibility to embrace the forcefulness of bad news, bad times, bad attitudes, and making it into something useful for oneself. More importantly, I’ll keep reminding myself of the personal purpose I’ve come to focus on, that it’s about the need of others, and the necessity to reveal a truth I might find. 

I truthfully have no forecast for what my infant career will look like in the next few months, even years, and while I am nervous, I am not fearful. There’s something we all want, whether in life or work. Strive enough for it, and you’ll attain it. Maybe I’m only speaking to those who aren’t currently with a guaranteed job or salary, but I hope this relates to those who are lucky enough to have that: if you find yourself being bored with it at any given time, take a risk, do something else you love– something you genuinely care about (that hopefully also helps pay the bills)– and I think there’s never a time that’s too late for that.

Now that I’ve just written a self-help (perhaps a little self-indulgent) blog post, completely unintentionally, I am going to trawl through the list of crap that I’ve left to do last minute, as usual. Note to self: stop procrastinating.




  1. i heard someone put it nicely as your quarter life crisis.

    Comment by Dominic Bracco II — May 25, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    • haha. i don’t think i’d call this a crisis, it’s more optimistic than that.

      Comment by nicoletung — May 25, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  2. But hey, at least you graduated. That’s something…

    Comment by Hugo Clifford — May 25, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

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