Falling into Life: My New Post-college Strategy
At 13 I was planning my college trajectory. My strategy for life was to formulate a path I thought would lead to success, charting the right course to reach the top. Whether that was trying to get into Juilliard Pre-College for a better chance of getting into Princeton, or planning out my day by the hour, even if the most stressful thing I had to schedule was homework. Regardless, I believed that adulthood could be mastered by having a plan.
Years later, I was still operating under that assumption. How one decides what they want to do with their life mystified me. And despite having many plans for my life, they weren’t really working for me. So, I pursued interviews with professionals in fields that interested me how they got to where they are. But their answers frustrated me. Over and over, they all responded along the lines of: “I really just fell into it.”
In the years following their undergraduate education, they often bounced them from one job to the next until they combined their acquired skills into a role they truly loved. This began to make me question my previous strategy for winning at life. But it was my internship this past summer that truly transformed my mindset.
I applied for the position to help develop Kore Venture (the perk of traveling to Oxford, England, and Salzburg, Austria, outweighed the fact that I wouldn’t be paid), without fully understanding what the program was about nor even sure I would like the work. But what started as a hesitant step of wavering faith became one of the best internship experiences I’ve ever had.
The nonprofit provides young inheritors from ultra-wealthy families with direction in discovering their purpose and calling, equipping them to move forward—both as individuals and as members of their families—as they navigate the complexities and responsibility of wealth.
I jumped in to build the organization’s social media presence, take photos and videos for marketing and program material, and assist the program manager by calling cabs and making sure Post-It notes were set on the tables. At the same time, while I was not coming from a background of significant wealth, I related to the participants in their state of confusion about the future. And though I was mainly gaining work experience over the past four months, I was also learning from the program that I was helping build.
The life coaches who developed curricula and mentored the participants gave me new perspectives on my own life through conversations over dinner. I got to sit in on their meetings and learn about how a program like Kore Venture is created. I also got to listen in on sessions where world-leaders and thinkers shared insights.
One session changed the entire way I looked at my future.
When guest speaker Dave Evans, a professor at Stanford University, noticed many college students lacking vocational direction, he and a colleague created a course and wrote a book called Designing Your Life. Intended to help young people with this overwhelming problem, the book uses principles of design—making many drafts and choosing your favorite—and applies them to life.
His approach entirely changed how I wanted to pursue my own career. He dispelled the idea that you have one perfect life and if you don’t find it, you’ve completely messed up. Instead, he suggested that, considering we’re infinite beings as Christians, we have more life in us than we could possibly live in one lifetime. Thus, we have many good lives we could potentially live—we just have to choose the one we want to do most.
Evans proposed that the fastest route in life is a very squiggly line: it’s definitely not straight, you may fall into one thing then another, and it may open up a door to a new and exciting project. So, life is a lot about falling.
Through this internship that I didn’t even understand in the beginning, I happened upon a wealth of tools that excite me about stepping into my future. With Evans’ alternative perspective on networking—that you’re really just asking for directions—I feel emboldened to face graduation and whatever comes next, even with a very squiggly plan. Who knows what I could fall into?