Chapter 7: What Now?
(Editor’s Note: Katlyn Lee ’12 and Jeremy Johnson ’12 are writing monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their own post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!)
January 5, 2013
Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” With the New Year upon us, I think it’s safe to say many of us look forward to a better year than the one past. For many, this means being healthier, maybe losing a few extra nagging pounds, or maybe finding more time for ourselves, or searching for love. It may mean getting that big promotion at work, or working a little less to spend a little more time with those we love. For me, well, I’m taking one out of Hemingway’s book this year.
Ever since graduating from Ripon in May, a dizzying thought has been coursing through my head, “what now?” Of course, I knew I wanted to enter into the workforce, to pursue a career in journalism, and ultimately find myself higher in the ranks at a national publication. That notion was always crystal clear; however, the realization that I may not exactly know how to reach that end goal has been slightly frightening.
While in school I was constantly preparing myself for that next step. That next paper, test, project, or presentation I needed to perform well on in order to bring me one step closer to my end goal: a high grade in my class and a degree upon graduation. For a while that end goal even included entering graduate school. Yet now that I’ve made the decision to try to reach my goals without that Masters Degree, I have admittedly found myself floundering a little to prepare the lists of steps and the sequence of events that I need to happen in order to reach that superior form of myself. But it’s a new year.
Over the last few weeks I have found that I am discovering a new side to myself. Illness has caused be to become stricter with my health and how I treat my body. It has caused me to become more disciplined and determined. While a new diet and exercise routine may not land me that dream job, it has caused me to remember once more how good it feels to stick with a plan, and reap the benefits. I’m healthier, I’m more in control of my body, and thus more in control of my life. That feeling of growing and succeeding, well, it’s really an endorphin overload some days. It reminds me of my capabilities and my willpower; it reminds me of what Ripon – and all the professors, staff, and friends that make it up – showed me I could be.
So with that I have decided to take hold of this new-found spirit within myself to finally make a solid plan for the future. I don’t want to just be along for the ride any more, hoping that maybe someday I will finally arrive where I want. No, I want take the steering wheel into my own hands, crank up the music, and drive myself to my destination. The ideas are in my head, I’m working on the road map now, and next month I hope to share it. It’s time to throw away the excuses and to stop allowing my surroundings to determine who I am. 2013 is the year that I make a more superior version of myself.
Katlyn M. Lee ‘12