[This stuff gets personal. Be warned.]
Hey y’all, it’s been a while. I’ve been pretty busy lately, so although I have a couple of essay topics I want to write about, I’ve had a bunch of stuff come up in my life since the start of this semester and haven’t been able to put the pen to paper.
I’ll be graduating from college in a little over a month from now with my bachelors in mechanical engineering. I’ve been frantically trying to get my rocket team ready to go for our first test launch that’ll be happening real soon – a month later than I had hoped, but c’est la vie. I’ve got a post-graduation schedule somewhat made – I’ll be spending most of my time prepping for a second test launch in the month after school is over, which means I may spend almost a month at school doing that. I’ll be busy with fully re-programming the flight software, and installing the new payload and gathering experimental data, followed by writing a paper on that data for competition. In the middle of June, I’ll leave for the spaceport in New Mexico to launch this thing. After that, I’ve got about a month before I’m set to move back in with my parents in my home town (I know, how stereotypically millenial can I get?), and start my new job, during which time I’ve gotta buy a bunch of professional clothes (read: a hecking ton of patterned dress shirts, some nice loafers, a tailored suit, and more than one buttoned vest), set up my various adulty things like 401ks and healthcare, and figure out how I’ll even get to work (car? daily Uber? llama? so many choices!)
In a lot of ways, I’ve finally laid out “the track” to my life at least in the very short term – school, competition, work. I think some people would envy that. I know that me several years ago would have – those who read my post on Fune wo Amu will remember me talking about my aimlessness and directionlessness. To have my next big steps laid out for me should make me so happy.
…So why do I feel so… unsatisfied?
To be clear, I’m happy that I seem to have figured out my path between today and when work begins. But so much of the next few weeks seem so very terrifying, and unhappy, and apart from my time when I will be away at competition, I think I will feel melancholy for most of it. And the prospects after don’t feel good about the work I’ll do after I graduate.
I’ve talked before about how I don’t have a lot of friends, and at just how bad I am at making them. A lot of acquiantances, and plenty of colleagues. But friends? People I could shoot a message and say “hey, want to grab a beer tomorrow night?” Precious little, and even fewer of those types nearby me – so many from high school but so few in college or back home in Washington, D.C.
It’s been something I’ve struggled with, and was probably the biggest the source of my anxieties and depression through community college and now. I like to think I’m a pretty introverted person, and definitely a homebody, but I thoroughly enjoy meeting my friends, or even new people that are welcoming – it gives me energy. It leaves me feeling alive, and buzzed, and satisfied. Not being able to do that regularly is kind of painful – I can’t count how many times on a Friday night I’ll just look up around my room and just kind of sigh at how quiet it is.
It hasn’t been as bad lately. My work has kept me pretty busy, and I usually spend my Saturdays around my team – all people my age – for upwards of 14 hours, which usually makes me feel better (if thoroughly exhausted.) I’ve come to realize that building rockets has given my life some sense of purpose, and it’s grounded me. I’ve gained a little bit of a reputation for it, too – I’ve had more than one person come and talk to me, asking if I’m one of those guys “on the rocket team” (some of my teammates, especially in the aerospace department, have told me similar things have happened to them.) It’s given me so much of what I’ve dreamed of – a place to belong on campus, and something I can take pride in. It’s given me some people I might almost call friends, albeit not best friends.
It’s also excited me – taking hold of some new goal, and seeing something new form before my very eyes, thinking that my leadership there was what helped do it, has been exhilerating. I am not the most innovative thinker, and I am not a great leader of men, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. Having some legacy that will extend for at least a few years after I am gone, I hope, will be a great joy.
I think I’m really afraid of that fact that I’m going to lose all that – the social place I’ve found, and the “spot at the top” that I have in my career – when I graduate. I feel that I had a place in the world – my world – but that when I graduate, it’ll be just me and a few other people working on the rocket, and then after that I’ll just be employee #32576 at Corporation #6684, cranking out widgets. And knowing me, I’ll end up a workaholic – someone who lives for work, even when he doesn’t really LIVE for his work. I’ll come home to a home where the only people around are my parents – a situation that I endured for over two years in community college that I wish I didn’t have to go through again. A Friday and a Saturday will roll around, and I will spend it on Twitter. I’ll dream of flying all over the country, meeting my friends for a brief period of time; occasionally, maybe 2-3 times a year, I’ll actually have the time and the money to do it (mercifully, I am pretty well compensated for a new college graduate.) Maybe I’ll be invited along by my coworkers to a drink after work occasionally, which will fill me with a momentary excitement. But other than that, I’ll be alone to my devices. I’ll work, I’ll come home, I’ll Internet browse, I’ll eat, and I’ll sleep.
That’ll be the end of me.
That’s not a way to live. I don’t want that. I want to rock hard every day, or close to it. I want to get six different ways to wasted at least a few times a month, and I want to be busy on my days off – Sunday will be anything but a day of rest.. I want to walk into work on Monday, take off my jacket, and not even need coffee to wake me up for a morning meeting. I want to work for 12 hours in a day and not think anything of it, and enjoy every minute of it. I want to put out good product, clock out at 8 PM on a Thursday, and meet some friends at the charcuterie down the street for some nomnoms, and stagger home at 1 AM. I want to wake up on my couch, still in work clothes, and then quickly get ready to come into work, which will be followed by a Friday night bender at someone’s apartment on the 14th floor. I’m exaggerating a bit here, but basically… I want some more excitement, and I don’t see it happening any time soon.
I’ve got to figure out something to make this better. I’ve pondered it a lot, but I don’t know what to do. I’m pretty stiff and awkward in person – I’m not a great conversationalist, and I don’t have an interesting life with which I can talk about things. I’m crap at small talk. All of my hobbies are pretty solitary, and I’m not athletic so I can’t really join some kind of intramural sports league. Most of my coworkers will be people older than me, as far as I can tell, so I think it’ll be hard to bond over work.
As for the career side: in some ways, it’s easier, because at least I know what my options here. As far as I can tell, my options are:
- Break into the space industry
- Get my Masters
- Find out I love something else and leave the aerospace industry entirely???
- Jump off a bridge
1 and 2 are incredibly difficult for me. I’ve started to notice that on top of my previous habits of irresponsibility and procrastination, I’m slowing down – I can’t work as hard or as long as I used to, like no more allnighters and generally just feeling kind of burnt out (possibly caused by a recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism that I haven’t worked very hard at treating, a change to my ADD medication, and straight up just getting older.) Furthermore, the quality of the technical work I produce isn’t really improving much any more. Both of those options require next-level output from me to realize, and I’m just not sure I can do it. Assuming I even get into them (a BIG assumption), the space industry or a Masters program is likely to chew me up and spit me out with their difficult and complex workloads. Unpleasant.
Number 3 is just weird, and hardly dependable. I’m not going to rely on figuring out something new to save my soul.
Number 4 sounds appealing. I will consider this further. Hn.
I dunno. I’m not sure why I’m saying all this here – you came here for ignorant and naive takes on anime, not my personal problems. And it’s not like I’m alone in this – I know that a lot of people my age are worried about these issues, worried about what they’ll do after college. I just wish I knew how they solved it, and how they made their life “good” for them after graduating.
I’m hoping someone reading this has some ideas. If you do – if any of you guys figured out the secret to making your life more exciting – then let me know. I really wanna hear it.
Until then, it’s a steady march to graduation. I hope I’m wrong about what happens after that, and that the fun never ends.