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Student Blog: Having No Plan is Having a Plan

Navigating the ‘what are you doing after college?’ question and other triggering comments when you don’t exactly have an answer yet

Student Blog: Having No Plan is Having a Plan

There is no faster halt to your train of thought in a conversation than when someone looks at you with wide-eyed excitement just waiting to hear what you have planned to do with the degree you just spent the last 4 or so years earning. You all of a sudden feel an impending pressure to conjure up or have some extravagant narrative with perfectly in place details of exactly where your post-grad life is headed. Well guess what, sometimes (well, maybe more like most of the time) that just isn't reality.

Let's be real for a minute, we're all still stranded in a pandemic and the job market for artists is looking drier than my social life. Many of us are moving home or re-evaluating what the next year is going to look like in terms of work. But even if we weren't living in what seems like a death sentence for performing artists, chances are we would all still be struggling to some capacity about what's next and how we answer the triggering question of what you plan to do with your post-grad life.

As a graduating senior just about ready to run and jump off the nearest cliff the next time I hear this arrangement of sounds and syllables in the english language, let me share with you how I answer this question after mentally screaming for about 3 seconds.

I don't have a plan. Right now I'm auditioning for dance companies, but for the most part I'm going where life takes me. I'm trusting God and the universe and I know that everything will work out and I will end up exactly where I am supposed to be.

I know you just read that sentence and had a little moment of what do you mean you don't have a plan?! Now let's not confuse the word plan with direction because I have direction and goals, it's just how I achieve those goals that isn't planned out yet. When I tell people my plan is to have no plan, most of them get it...that is after I give my elevator speech on it. The response is always genuine and I can see that they are no longer stressed out for me once I explain it to them.

I am not built for a routine 9-5 office job life and I know that. Honestly, I don't think anyone who spends their life on a stage is. During my summers home from college I worked 40+ hour weeks and spent early mornings and long days at my dad's office to help pay my tuition. Everyday was the same and everyday I pretty much knew exactly what was going to happen. Although it was really good money, it squashed my sparkle. That's when I realized that I didn't want to live my life like this long term.

I don't want to spend so much time concerned and worrying about planning every move of my future that I become set in my ways, close myself off, and miss opportunities or experiences because they don't fit in my 'plan'. Instead, I know what direction I'm going and the goals I want to achieve, just not exactly how I'm getting there. I guess you could say I'm hitchhiking my way through my career and life. A large portion of our world of performing arts is about being in the right place, at the right time. There is really no way to plan the spontaneous wow moments of your career.

A life in the performing arts is unpredictable, impulsive, some would say an unstable waste of time, but most of all a dream for the child that lives inside all of our hearts. You never know what opportunities are going to come your way and the truth is that the best adventures are the ones we never considered or planned for in the first place.

As I wrap this up because it's late and I don't want my body to require another double shot of espresso tomorrow morning (even though it's inevitable at this point), I leave you with a token of truth. As our queen Hannah Montana would say "they say that good things take time, but really great things happen in the blink of an eye" and yes I did just quote One In A Million because that's what we are. We are incredibly gifted individuals that bring color to a world of black and white. We can't risk missing the 'really great things' that are waiting for us in our careers that only come around once because they didn't fit into a preconceived plan we created for ourselves. More often than not our lives turn out way better than anyone could have ever thought or planned. Trust the process. I'm never wrong.

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