20something profile: Emily
Most mornings I make myself some coffee, toast a bagel, and wonder what the heck I’m doing with my life. For someone who has settled into a comfortable home and a comfortable career, it sounds like an ideal morning. But for someone who still needs something to look forward to in the day? That’s all I live for.
I graduated this past June from Knox College in central Illinois — small, liberal arts, cornfields for miles — and studied English Literature with a minor in Religious Studies. Moving from my home in sunny, busy California to the countryside of Illinois was a big change, but it was a change I accepted wholeheartedly.
I had wanted to study English since I was in 6th grade, so college was a dream come true for my romantic soul. The literary scene was flourishing there, and there were so many opportunities to take advantage of.
I wrote a biweekly discourse column titled, “Did You Know?”, was an editor for my school’s webzine for a year, studied abroad in Europe, and joined Pi Beta Phi, a sorority whose philanthropy is literacy. For four years I blossomed and did what I wanted to do, made plans for the future, and dreamed of what life would hold next.
And then bam! Graduation. Stagnation. Job application. Is this really what I spent four years preparing for? To live at home and spend my hours sending applications and résumés into the void of the Internet?
But I believe in making the most of every situation, good and bad, and that’s what my blog Long Live the Twenties is about. Though I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t want to waste my twenties worrying about where I’m going to go next. I want to focus on the now, making plans for tomorrow as I go, and make the most of the time I do have. I want to say yes and grow and flourish and learn, even though I’m bursting to get out and see more of the world.
My ultimate goal is to break into the literary scene, whether it be as a writer, editor, or publisher. I’m well aware that over thousands of other English majors seek employment in publishing and another thousand want to make a living as a writer. The state of California isn’t exactly known for its flourishing literary scene like New York, but I’m still applying for publishing internships and jobs at bookstores and submitting short stories to writing contests in hopes to get my career started.
I said yes to teach at my local church on Sundays, and more and more I’m finding how rewarding teaching elementary-aged students can be. I’m going to start volunteering regularly at my local library soon, and my rocky relations with my family are beginning to smooth over slowly but surely.
Though my current route is not where I would be in an ideal world, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. What I do with my circumstances and what I glean from my experiences is the important part. I’m still looking to find where I belong in this great, wide world, and I know there are others who are in the same boat as I am.
I think that’s what we millennials do best: we encourage each other and remind each other that we are not alone.