Entering the Freshman Year of Life

Diane Bizzarro graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2012, majoring in English, with minors in French and Theatre.While in college, she studied abroad in both Tanzania and France. She currently works at a technology company in New York City and still pursues her love of literature, theatre, and languages outside of the office.

Having graduated college more than two years ago now, you would think that I have forgotten the anxiety that I felt during those final months of my senior year. In the midst of enjoying the constant parties and lackadaisical attitude towards classwork that often comes during the spring semester of one’s senior year, I was plagued by all of the typical “real life” questions:
“What am I going to do when I graduate? I am and English and French major! Am I going to be able to secure a paid internship or job? What city should I move to? I do NOT want to move back in with my parents…Where do I even start?” These were among the many questions that I woke up wondering and went to bed obsessing over.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I know for sure that I would do one thing: Worry less. Even years after graduating, you will realize that the same questions you wondered back then will still be bouncing around in your head—maybe just not at the forefront of every thought and waking moment.
At the age of 60 or at the age of 22–It is rare that somebody knows that they want to do with their life. I can say with conviction that I am still trying to figure it out (at the wise old age of 24.)
I have realized that the pressure I felt during my last months of college was wasted energy that I could have been focusing elsewhere—towards late-night coffee and conversations with roommates, enjoying those last few lectures with my favorite literature professors, or taking a stroll around my college’s serene, rural Ohio campus.
Alas, as they say: no regrets, and I wouldn’t say that I have many, but just know that entering the “Freshman year of life” isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. There may be more to do than filling out medical forms and deciding what pre-requisite courses to take, but the job that you accept after college may just be another job, and that’s okay. It is for most people.
After I graduated in May, I accepted a teaching assistant program in a small town in the south of France. I lived there for a year, and it was an excellent learning experience, more personal than career-wise. There, being so far-removed from my life back in the states, I was able to take and enjoy each day at a time and shake off the competitive, “what is so and so doing now,” attitude.
I’m now living in New York City working for a technology company. I’m still figuring it out: My next move, my next project, my next job. I am definitely less anxious about “what I am going to do next” than I was two years ago, and thank god for that. Every new year feels like a different version of my next freshman year of life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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