I've had this thought in the back of my mind since the end of Junior year, but with starting up classes again this fall it's a good time to cover it. I had my last "first day of school" (excluding the possibility of me ever going to grad school) and the thought resurfaced that I have absolutely zero earthly idea where I will be one year from now. Not so much to the exact date of August 26th, 2013, but to the point of after graduation: where I'll be living, whether I'll be job searching or *knock on wood* where I'll be working. I have a bunch of idealized views of what could be, but I'm also very flexible. I've always pictured myself living in a big city - I've loved visiting Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, London, Phoenix, Chicago, Milan, etc. Living in Perugia and being able to walk to the grocery store after class and pick up a bag full of groceries for dinner that night was a lifestyle that I really enjoyed, as well as seeing all the people and the amenities that come with living in a metropolis. Granted, there are a lot of negatives associated with long term residency as well, like higher crime rates, noise, traffic, higher expenses, and so on. There are tradeoffs, but it's one that I'm willing to make at this point in my life - and I think coming right out of school is one of the only times in your life where you can make a big no strings attached move and try something completely different.
I've been fortunate enough to be able to spend some time over the past year visiting my brother in Chicago, at his high rise studio apartment right downtown and his new place just a few blocks west. It's been a great experience to add some tangibility to my vision of living in a big city, and getting to know the public transit system and not do the normal touristy things but actually get the feeling of living there. I've been building a list of cities I could see myself living in - granted I'll have to do a lot more research on them, but at least it's a jumping off point. It would be great to go back to Philadelphia, I've always been drawn to Tampa, I've loved living in Chicago. If I follow my 12 hour drive sequence west, that would put me in maybe Memphis or St. Louis. Who knows where I'll end up - the possibilities keep piling up as my curiosity increases.
Now the bigger issue, which will lead me to where I'll be living, is what I'll be doing. I've dreamed of working in Sports Marketing, which I think would be a great opportunity. However, I'm also trying to be realistic and realize that it's extremely competitive. I will definitely give it a shot and sent out a trillion applications all over the board (hence the many different city options!), but I also need a solid plan to fall back on. When I graduate, I'll have a shiny new marketing degree which granted I can go a lot of different directions with: sales, advertising, PR, market research, customer service, social media. It's strange because I came into college as an intended management major without a real grasp on what I wanted to do - after my first semester with Business 101 and completing the Pre-Business program, I went into marketing because I was very intrigued by the Sports Marketing aspect. Now coming out of it all, I'm looking at what options I would have outside of sports. I really enjoyed my services marketing class last semester, and market research is something I can see myself doing also - statistics has been a subject that came pretty easily to me, but I feel like grad school would loom on the horizon if I wanted to go that route. I cannot express how much I do not want to go into sales, it's not a good fit for me and it's not something I could see myself being happy doing. I can see myself in more of a consulting role at a marketing firm or working in some aspect of customer service, things like advertising or hospitality are intriguing options but something I have no experience in.
At the end of the day, I'm very flexible - which is good - but I lack direction and a real plan - which is problematic. I've never been one for always having a vision of my future, I'm much more comfortable going with the flow and seeing what happens. Growing up I didn't have the slightest clue about where I would go to college, but once I got down to looking I found Clemson, and it has been an amazing fit. I can't think of another decision that has affected me as greatly as this one, and the process never really stressed me out or caused anxiety. But alas, it can only last four years, and the next biggest decision is quickly looming on the horizon. It's just strange that for the first time in my life, I can only guess and ponder about where I'll be one year from now.