Back to school and fear

Photo: Pexels

Graduating with my Bachelor’s this summer felt surreal. There was a plenitude of factors that made it so. The fact that I did more than half of my Bachelor’s in another country — because of the pandemic — contributed to this strange aftertaste regarding my graduation. I felt, in general, that time had flown by and that I had much more to experience in Utrecht, also with my classmates. For this reason, when graduation came and I could see my mother, sister and boyfriend in the audience looking proudly at me, I could not help but feel slightly like an impostor. Time had gone by so quickly that I struggled to feel like my being a graduate was a fact.

Nevertheless, this feeling was not a fleeting sensation, but it also had implications regarding my perception of expertise on the topic of my Bachelor’s. In my home country, Bachelor’s degrees take longer to complete, so my Bachelor’s in Utrecht being three years made me think that this was barely enough time to go in-depth into anything. Ultimately, the fact that my degree was interdisciplinary has provided me with a deep underlying confusion, as I felt like I was not well versed in anything. This sensation has been hard to handle, as everyone told me that I would gradually find my passion or drive and narrow down my interests — which would, according to them, help me pick a career path. This, however, did not happen and I carried on floating from one passion and career to the other.

I did find a way to address this widespread lack of precision in my career path, and I got accepted into a Master's in Utrecht. I will now be able to complete my path in this unexplored city. Ultimately, the Master's I will be starting in a mere couple of days also provides ample room for me to pursue my interests. Perhaps the key to feeling at ease in regard to my career and professional prospects relies on accepting that my interests do not lie in one specific topic or area. I have always struggled to narrow them down, which has also on occasion contributed to me feeling like I had no place in the professional world.

For this reason, I believe I will pursue a career in academia, as I deeply value being able to research things that interest me and not feel shame about having passions that I cannot label. I guess it is time to embrace the fact that there is virtue in having various passions and interests, despite the commonly held notion that this reduces people’s value or drive.