For this week’s response, I wanted to share a little bit about my self-reflection. This past weekend, my team and I competed at Penn State for the Big Ten Championships. We were put in a tough situation competing in the first session but that didn’t deter us from believing in our team to make history and win, regardless of the time we were scheduled to compete. We did in fact manage to take the title back and win, but that’s not the point of this story. It was an exhilarating and satisfying feeling, we were all on cloud nine. After the awards later at night, numerous little girls wanted to take pictures with me (and my teammates of course) and get our autographs. Young gymnasts were ‘tweeting’ at me about my performance saying things like “I want to do floor like her.” As humbling as all of this is, it gives me such self-fulfillment to know that I am inspiring others. It is important to me that gymnastics does not only hold a purpose of providing me with happiness, but through my sport which has practically been my job, I can also influence others. Gymnastics is an aspect of my life that I am extremely passionate about and I personally love making others fall in love with it the same way that I did.

Along with the competition this past weekend, I also had two interviews. The roles are sales/account executive/marketing positions—kind of cliché post graduate, entry-level positions that students seek. During my four-hour drive that I had all to myself, I experienced such an inner conflict. I felt so misguided and lost. I understand that gymnastics is a huge part of me, but it certainly does not define me. If you take that out of my life, I will still be the same person and capable of doing great things. The reason why I do so well in gymnastics is because of my passion for it and when I was interviewing for these jobs, I found myself lying or being fake when answering some of the questions. Gradating seniors get so caught up in emerging adulthood, taking the next step, and finding that first job. Sometimes they get so desperate that they’ll just settle. After visiting with the recruiters and speaking with them, I realized that I was pursing the particular companies to simply “get a job” already. I am using the selected companies as stepping-stones while I’m in “limbo” trying to find my real interest.

Due to my experiences my whole life, if I am not passionate about what I’m doing it will simply not turn out as well. Passion is my fuel. During my four-hour drive I was thinking deeply about what would give me self-satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Whether it’s working for a corporation, non-profit, a sports team, entrepreneurship—I need to see myself having a purpose. Sure, I would love a job that pays well and keeps me living easy but truly enjoying what I do is 100x more important. I want to continue to inspire others in different means than through gymnastics. I want to use my voice, make a difference. Selling sales or being an account executive and cold calling is a job, sure…but not the one that I want to do my entire life.

My self-reflection certainly brought me back to the drawing board and added more unnecessary confusion and stress into my life, which I’m trying not to dwell over. In today’s world, seniors across the country are scrambling trying to establish their next steps post college and it’s easy to lose sight of what you want your end goal to be. I understand that everyone has to start somewhere, but it’s also important to have some kind of idea and focus on who you hope to be in the future. What kind of person do you want to become because of the experiences with your job/careers. Oh, emerging adulthood.

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