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One moment I was a lost freshman and the next I was preparing for my senior year. It feels like I blinked and life sped by without a warning. Friends who graduated this year cautioned me, “Take pictures!” “Soak it all in!” “Take advantage of being in college!”

Graduating college is admittedly a big step in life. It’s when you toss your cap into the air and you realize you’ve accomplished something great. But unfortunately for most of us, graduating college is not the final academic step on our journey.

There are a select number of jobs that an undergraduate degree will satisfy. For those of us dedicated to fields that require years of further education and training, it feels like everything is just beginning. For my sanity, I can’t divulge the sheer number of hours I have spent researching graduate programs and sending emails. And even though it’s crazy how long I’ve been looking at programs, it’s my attempt at being as prepared as a boy scout.

Here is a near-account of a conversation I had with a TF first semester of freshman year:

Me: “Where are the best clinical PhD programs?”
TF: “I can tell you, but you’ve only been at college for a couple of weeks, you should calm down.”

Ah, if only calm were in my DNA! I wish someone had sat down with me and helped create a road map of where I wanted to go and how I could get there. While most of my peers will be taking a year off to work or travel, I want to apply right to graduate school. It’s a tad torturous when you know exactly what you want to do, but have to complete the course and internship work first. Can’t we just skip ahead to having a career?

But the point of this post is not to encourage others to stay up late at night researching graduate programs or pulling their hair out figuring out life after college. There will be plenty of time to contemplate our years beyond undergraduate, but for now it’s summer and we should be enjoying what we’re doing. There’s so much pressure to be someone and get somewhere, but I think the first step is realizing what you want to do, to be, to give.

To end with a favorite quote by a BU alum, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman


Jennie David is a 21 year old senior at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. She is a member of NSCS and Psi Chi and is a dual citizen of both Canada and the US. She has Crohn’s Disease and is the chair of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada’s Youth Advisory Council. Her career goal is to be a pediatric psychologist for chronically ill children.