I just read Keith Drury’s Tuesday Column for this week. It’s all about assignments for post-college-20-somethings, and almost every “assignment” he listed is one I’ve thought about in the past month. Let me detail my thoughts for you.
(the process of getting out of debt and flirting with adventure)
Yep. I’m graduating in April, but I am far from independent. My current calculations place me roughly $14,000 in debt, and that’s only the start. I may go straight from college into volunteer work overseas, and if that is the case, I would (shudder) become another one of those people that seems to leech off of kindhearted individuals for financial backing. I’ve grown up dependent on such supporters, and I’ve always chafed against the thought of supporting myself like that. Deep rooted fears that God won’t provide? Well, maybe. Or is it simply the thought of being dependent on others FOREVER? (sigh.) I’m too darn proud.
(Frederick Buechner calls it where deep gladness meets the world’s great need)
So, I obviously didn’t have this one figured out when I came to college. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane as we highlight the majors I’ve tried since freshman year… “Pre-Law? Political science? International relations? Teaching English as a second language? Darn it. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’ll just be ‘pre-declared’ (ah- the irony) for a while.” After a much needed sabbatical from a major, I settled on a double major in international community development and intercultural studies. I’ll graduate with these majors, and might even use them to some extent as an international volunteer (can’t they pay me for doing this work? seriously…). In ten years, however, who knows what I’ll be doing. Will I still be fighting human trafficking and sexual exploitation? If so, where? In Cambodia? Southern Africa? The USA? Or, maybe, I’ll be in grad school pursuing a degree in theoretical physics (but I doubt it). Coach Drury’s article leaves me with the sinking feeling that my vocation is as unsure as Indiana’s weather. Well, at least he’s reassured me that I have some “wiggle room.” (second sigh.)
(developing close, intentional friendships, and finding intimacy with men)
Heavens. I’ve been thinking about this one too. I’ve often wondered if the fact that I moved around so much as a kid hindered my ability to make lasting friendships. I’m sure it’s helped me develop a skill for striking up friendships initially, but it hasn’t helped at all with friendship maintenance! Even here at school, I didn’t consciously give myself to relationships until last year. Although I had a posse of 400+ Facebook friends, I would find myself lonely in a circle of superficial relationships. I remember thinking, when I came in as a freshman, “I’m only here for four years. I’ll be gone before I know it. What’s the point?” I tried to dismiss that thought, but it comes back to me, especially when I think about short term commitments after school. I’m honestly afraid that I’ll fail at the relationship thing – even just the friendship thing – and if I can’t get friendships to work, how will I ever be able to think about marriage?! Is it any wonder that I’ve only ever been on one date? (sigh-numero-tres.)
(marriage or vows of celibacy?)
Need I discuss this? My options are few. My opportunities fewer. Maybe somewhere in the next 10 years something will work out? Coach calls this “a major assignment for the next decade.” (sigh x4.) Another thing for my to-do list.
(testing what I think I know in the real world)
My roommate must have thought I was nuts that afternoon last month when she found me curled up on the couch watching French TV on my laptop. I was repeating sounds, words, and phrases, trying to convince myself I could speak French well enough to get one of the jobs the French government was offering (jobs that paid real money- imagine that!) to college graduates who wanted to come teach high school English class in France . I told her I was going to go learn to live out my faith in postmodern Europe (doesn’t that sound romantic?). Well, that option fell by the wayside in light of another, which is more in line with my life wedge. Regardless, this is something I’ve been thinking about lately. My faith, although very real, has been lived in a Christian vacuum for most of my life. Even when I encountered the world and its harshness, I could always run home to the shelter of my parent’s Christian incubator or IWU’s infamous bubble. The next ten years will force me to deal with questions of faith that I’ve only ever encountered before in theory. It’ll be real. My actions and response in face of raw life will determine how my faith develops in the next ten years.
The Local Church
(the locus of any hope for my pathetic future)
Coach ends his column with a nice hint. To make the grade on these 5 post-graduation-20-something assignments, I must get plugged into a local church. In his own words,
It is in the local church where you can find a new family rather than moving home again. In a local church is where you will find guidance for your upcoming vocational choices or confirmations. The local church that can be the community where you can learn to make friends with people unlike yourself and maybe even find a husband or wife. In a local church you will find families banded together to teach and train each other’s children and teens—including your own. And most of all, we hope this coming decade of searching and settling on your faith will occur in a local church where there will be older men and women like us to guide your growth and commitment.
Ok. The local church. Well, that sounds like an easy enough first step.
(this was a pointless exercise)
Well, life is nuts. The next decade looks pretty uncertain and crazy, but hey- I’m a wild 20-something. I love adventure! So… (glasses up) here’s to the future.