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Never grow up

Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff

THE QUESTION STUDENTS hear the most after “What are you studying?’” is “What are you doing when you graduate?” Well, that’s the question they hear next if their major is not initially met with weird reactions, and subsequently judged. Being in my fifth year of study, it’s the one question that I can’t seem to avoid. Family, friends, and random strangers feel the need to butt into my business and inquire about the next chapter of my life.

Just yesterday, my mother’s friend posed that dreaded question. Two days before that, my local convenience store cashier felt the need to interrogate me while I was attempting to purchase a packet of gum and some Airheads. The answer I’d most like to give is, “none of your freaking business,” but usually I wave my hands and leave some vague answer of work, more school, law school, or some variation of the three.

When I told a few of my family members my real post-graduation plans, I was met with strange looks and some worry.

“I want to be a gypsy. I’ll do nothing for about a year and then see if I want to go back to school,” I said with complete confidence. Quickly, my mother launched into a monologue on why I should continue my education and get my master’s or a law degree. She was not the only one who felt this way.

It seems that young adults today are suffering from the Peter Pan Complex. This pop-psychology term alludes to our avoidance of growing up. But our generation’s obsession with youth has transformed into something far beyond Neverland or any childhood tale.

While our society is fixated on staying young forever—look no further than the cosmetic industry for proof—we’re even more concerned with deadlines. It’s not enough that we graduate by the time we’re 22, but we better have solid plans for the future that include either more school or a job paying at least 75K a year. If possible, we should also have a bestselling novel, a Nobel Prize, or groundbreaking scientific research in our five-year plan.

For someone who just wanted to take time out and “be,” it’s no wonder I was met with resistance and rebuttals when I disclosed my intentions. The achievement-oriented, success-driven world we live in can be tiresome, and chasing one goal right after another is exhausting, not to mention time consuming. Why run yourself ragged if you’re not going to take the time to relish in your accomplishments?

Those who do contemplate relaxing and smelling the roses shouldn’t be met with the statement, “Oh, you’ll never go back if you take a break.” That’s not true. Sure, some people may decide not to return to school, but others do. And a little extra thinking and planning never hurt anyone.

I’m not saying success is bad. I’m saying that taking time off should be a viable option for almost-graduates. And if that time off happens to turn into full-time gypsyhood, then so be it. At least I won’t have to pay rent on my caravan.