By Abigail Kishimoto, Head Culture Co-Writer
Photo from stock.adobe.com
Throughout a majority of your childhood, you are pushed toward this end goal of going to college. If you play a sport, you are told to work hard so that you can get a scholarship for college. To push you to get better grades, you are told that you need those good grades if you want to go to college. If you begin to question whether you want to even attend college, you are told that you will not get a good job if you choose not to attend.
But what do they mean when they say that college will be beneficial for your future? I began to really question this for myself when I was ending my sophomore year here at McKendree, so I thought I would share my experience for those who may be in a similar position. At the end of my sophomore year, I felt like I was being pulled in two different directions. I was being pulled to play my sport and continue to improve athletically, but I was also beginning to feel like I was not preparing enough for my future. Then COVID-19 hit, my season was cut short, and I had some time to reflect on what I felt like I really wanted my future to look like.
By being sent home, I finally had the chance to realize that it was time for me to stop being a collegiate athlete, which forced me to think about what I was going to do to fill that extra time. I realized that I now had the time to join clubs and take on different projects that I never had the time for before once we got back to campus. I finally joined the Psi Chi Honor Society, I had the opportunity to do research, and now I am a part of the McKendree review! By joining these new activities, I really gained a better perspective on my educational passions, and got a better handle on what I could handle in terms of graduate school. Additionally, I met people from McKendree that have turned into good friends that I would not have crossed paths with if I had not made a change in direction.
I also got the opportunity to work at a preschool, which is a job that I could not have done along with being an athlete due to conflicting schedules. When I started this job, I fell in love with it and realized that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher. I finally had a sense of clarity after changing hypothetical career paths so many times.
Therefore, through reflection, I realized that it was time for me to end my athletic career and begin focusing more on my career and building my resume. By giving myself more time in my schedule, I was able to participate in more extracurriculars that allowed me to discover my true interests, and become more certain in a life after McKendree.
While balancing responsibilities and the ups and downs of life in general, how are you supposed to know what you want to do after college? To anyone at McKendree who may be in a position similar to my own: I would recommend that you take some time for yourself and reflect on what you want your life to look like after college. If you are playing a sport, I am not recommending you quit, but I think it is important to give yourself options. Think about joining one new club, or trying out a new job, for it may lead you to realize your interests and passions. What is even more exciting, is that McKendree is the perfect place to look into trying something new! We have over 70 different student organizations including Greek life, student government, religious groups, honor societies, and so much more! If you are interested in seeing more of what McKendree has to offer in terms of student organizations, click here.
At the same time, do not put too much pressure on yourself to have big epiphany moments. Trying new things will simply allow you to have the opportunity to understand more of what you like and dislike, and you will gain a better perspective on a life that will suit you best in the future. Additionally, McKendree career services can help to guide you in this process. At the very least, you will have given yourself some time to learn more about yourself which will be beneficial as well!