One of the most pressing questions at the forefront of an about-to-be-a-college-graduate’s thought, whether they have a next step outlined or not, is, “What am I going to do with my life?” And along with that question come the follow-ups: “Am I going to have a fulfilling life? Am I going to make a difference in the world?”
Having just graduated from college earlier this year, I know how these questions tend to hang around as graduation comes and goes. Parents, relatives, friends, and colleagues inquire about your next steps as senior year winds down and the day you walk across the stage gets closer. Some graduates love hearing this question because they have the next step outlined and are excited to share their plans to go to grad school, start a new job, move to a new city, travel abroad, or even spend the summer as a camp counselor before diving into the “real world.” Others dread this question because they don’t know what the next step is and maybe feel embarrassed about not having what are perceived as noble plans ahead of them. When I was asked the question, I would tell people that I had plans to spend the summer with my parents in Connecticut before moving to California at the end of the summer, and would be devoting myself to my practice of Christian Science.
One of the first things I realized as I prayed about my next steps was that those who ask questions about the future aren’t there to judge whether or not you’ve got a bright or an uncertain path ahead of you. They ask out of love and compassion, wanting to know that you’re supplied and have an exciting path ahead of you. And you do. But that promise doesn’t come from acceptance into grad school, a job offer, or even returning to your parent’s house. That promise comes from God.
I’m reminded that one’s happiness, success, and supply are not linked to an occupation or a geographical location. Where you live and what you do are simply natural manifestations of God’s abiding love for you, and you can fearlessly follow His direction. As an idea of God you always have been, are, and always will be a perfect reflection of your Maker, inheriting all the qualities of God and receiving the infinite blessings that your Father-Mother is always imparting to you.
It’s also helpful to remember that no one asking the question “What’s next?” expects you to respond with “I’m going to be the president of the United States,” “I’m going to walk on the moon,” or “I’m going to end world hunger.” You may accomplish any of those noble goals, but you aren’t expected to do it by tomorrow!
Sometime during the beginning of my senior year I read that the average adult has seven different careers before the time they retire. Not just seven different jobs in the same industry, but seven different careers in different industries. So we certainly don’t need to feel a pressure to define what our path ahead of us is going to look like. That would only be limiting the wonderful plan that God has for us.
As I keep praying to follow God’s plan for my future, I’m comforted by the fact that whether we’ve recently graduated from college, are navigating a career change, or are looking at new opportunities of any kind, we can feel assured in the promise of a fulfilling life that will nurture us, protect us, and supply us. And that promise can be “cashed in” right now.
The world has great need of your love right here in this instant. You’re valuable beyond understanding. So go forward in whatever your adventure is, and “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
—West Hartford, Connecticut, US,