Jobs Can Wait, Your Youth Can’t

Four years ago, I was graduating from high school, bringing 13 years of education to a monumental close. I headed to MU the following fall to begin my education as an undergrad. I remember feeling like anything was possible. I would graduate from MU, get a great job, make good mon­ey, eventually go to graduate school, and that would be that. Don’t get me wrong, I still expect those things to happen, but who says they have to happen the day after graduation?

One weekend during this semester when I was overloaded with school­work and barely had a second to breathe, it occurred to me that after I graduate, I have been in school for 17 years. That’s practically my whole life. I nearly had a panic attack think­ing about how my life is basically over.

After I graduate, I will start work­ing until I’m way too old to enjoy life or my successes.

Then I thought, if only I had just a few months where I could do noth­ing. No work, no school, no any­thing. Just relax.

I’m a firm believer in taking time off after graduating college before starting a career. When I say “time off,” I don’t mean time off from job searching, I just mean time off from working a typical summer job, and of course, schoolwork. I also don’t mean a year. I think that’s much too long and employers view that nega­tively. I believe a few months of lei­sure, fun and relaxation while job hunting is a reasonable tradeoff.

My parents own a house in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be perfect if I could live there for the summer? I would continue looking for job op­portunities, but I would be doing it on a gorgeous beach in Florida. It seemed like the perfect plan to me.

When I asked my parents, they were quick to say “no.” They insisted that if I wanted to go to Florida for the summer, I would have to bring my brother or sister. They also added that by no means will I live there for the entire summer. I explained to my parents that my brother and sister have jobs so they are unable to take off even two weeks to go to Florida with me, thus proving my point that this opportunity will never arise again.

It scares me to think that I will never have this time back. I will not be in my 20s forever, and I will never have another opportunity to spend an entire summer in Florida. Ca­reers, family, children, money, and graduate school will all eventually force me to settle down, likely back in my hometown of Montgomery, New Jersey. I’ll then begin a repeti­tive life of a 9 to 5 job, trying to bal­ance my money while paying back my student loans, and all spontaneity and excitement in my life will be lost.

I guess I’m just not ready to dive into the job market just yet. I don’t think I’m being lazy. I am excited to work, I just think it’s necessary to take advantage of this time in my life before it’s too late. It may not be the right thing for everyone.

All I know is that I would hate to look back at this time in my life and regret not taking advantage of this allotted “me time.”

The way I see it, I have the rest of my life to work, only eight more years to be in my 20s, and only three months to have a summer complete­ly to myself.