What’s Next


Ali Talwar, 130 TESS

People have asked me about “what’s next” since I told them I was joining the Peace Corps. After I had gone through so many steps to even get to Peace Corps, which coincided with a few life crises, the thought of doing that all over was terrifying.

Thankfully for the longest time, I was able to tell them that I would figure it out later. Well unfortunately, later snuck up on me, and it’s all become very real. Starting the search all over again has my mind boggling because, let me tell you, the world is a large place full of far too many options! Where is one supposed to start?

There are a lot of steps that go into planning out your future that make it stressful. I wish it was just as simple as saying “I want to do that,” but it’s not. You usually have to go back to school, which usually involves an entrance exam and studying for it. Then, there’s the applications for jobs and/or schools where you attempt to sell yourself as this perfect specimen, knowing full well you’re not. Personally, this gives me anxiety that I try to hide in my everyday life (usually just by pushing it deep down). I’m aware that I can’t hide from it forever since the jobless alternative is even scarier… Are you sure I can’t travel forever instead?

I don’t think any of this would be as daunting if it didn’t feel like I was trying to find THE job. The one that you work at for 50ish years with benefits, retirement funds and other things important to adults. Essentially, I feel like I’m faced with the decision of what to do with my life, and I hate it. Why does anything have to be permanent like that? I don’t think people should have to settle into a career, but people should have the ability to try things out and change down the road if they get bored. However, that’s not how our society is set up. The older you get, the harder it is to switch. Not to mention living off of an entry-level position becomes impossible as time goes on.

Currently though, I have no roots, and thus, I feel like now is the time to do the things people with deep roots say they wish they had done. I’m trying to learn from all of those around me and figure out my path. It’s just that the path isn’t paved yet; there’s curves, potholes and signs of other paths off to the side that just look so enticing.

So essentially, I’m freaking out and not entirely sure what I am going to do. Teaching for now is the goal, but I have no credentials beyond my Peace Corps service for it so it’s going to be hard. Plus after living internationally, I realize that I don’t have to be confided to the United States. So the “where” part of the equation has become even harder to decide on. I pretend to have it all together, but truth be told, I am entirely banking on the chance that it will all work out. How does one actually know that to be true? Not a clue, but it’s gotten me through 24 years of life so far.

Read Ali’s previous articles and contributions.

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