Long road to the real world worth it in the end

Long road to the real world worth it in the end

by Emily SchettlerCopy Editor

I had an interview for an internship last week and was got asked that infamous question: “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

The question knocked me off my feet. I knew my strengths and weaknesses. I could give examples of times I had worked in a group, but I don’t know where I’m going to be two weeks from now, much less five years.

I am notorious for being indecisive about my future. The thought that I might actually have to have a regular job where I work so much I’m eligible for benefits scares me. To actually know what I want that job to be? That’s just ridiculous.

My indecisiveness hasn’t been for lack of options. To date I’ve strongly considered several careers: ESPN analyst, journalist for the Economist, waitress, human rights lawyer, professional speech writer and convenience store clerk.

Like a lot of students I have spent the last three months in summer mode. Sure, I had an internship, took classes and had a second job, but there wasn’t that much responsibility. Outside of work I hung out with friends, went golfing and sat by the pool.

It has been hard getting back into the routine of going to class and studying.

Ever since that interview, my mind has continued wandering back to that idea of the real world, that one just beyond Iowa Avenue where employers expect you to show up on time and dress up?

I feel like I have a pretty good road map to get me to the real world.

After I graduate from Simpson I will use my acceptable LSAT score to gain entrance to a decent law school, preferably on a coast. They’ll hold my admission spot for two years while I volunteer for AmeriCorps.

Three busy years and one JD degree later my five years will have come and gone.

And that’s where my road map ends. From there it’s open road. Which makes me wonder, is it worth it to go through all that work when I don’t even know what I want to do?

There have been days when I have considered quitting school altogether and becoming a full-time waitress.

It’s something that I’m good at and I actually enjoy. The job itself is pretty mindless. The most I ever have to worry about is whether my table’s burgers come with fries or onion rings.

There are no exams, other than a short quiz on the daily drink specials, and when it’s busy, I can make some decent money. I’ve stood there before and thought, “Doing this the rest of my life could maybe an okay thing.”

It’s like being in summer mode permanently. Then I hear my fellow servers complain that if they don’t make enough in tips they won’t be able to cover the month’s rent.

When they get sick, they have no insurance and can’t go to the doctor. There aren’t sick days either. If you don’t show up, you don’t get paid.

That’s when I start to realize that all of this hard work is going to be worth it.

I can think of at least three things I like more than waiting tables: writing, politics and helping those less fortunate than me.

The thought of waking up every day to a new experience, be it helping citizens of an impoverished developing nation or covering the latest story on Capital Hill, certainly sounds better than making martinis and refilling ketchup bottles.

I guess the right answer to that question might be: where don’t I see myself in five years?

With the right motivation and hard work, the options could be endless.