finishing my degree next steps after college uni the salt compass setting goals

One Step Forward After Finishing My Degree

So here I am. One day after turning in my dissertation, my final project for university, and it’s been relaxing. I’ve done all the things I’ve wished I could do back when I had to be studying and writing, and it’s been just one day and I’m already sick of it.

Not the freedom that comes with finally finishing something I’ve worked for the past three years to finish. I’m not sick of that. That is amazing, and I grin super big when I think about it and want to eat loads of vanilla ice cream with honey on top to celebrate. It’s freedom. It’s exciting. It’s that big sigh when you hadn’t realized you’d been holding your breath for a really really long time. I love that.

What I’m sick of is the fact that I don’t seem to be in progress with anything now. My energy isn’t directed at finishing something that I’ve started because I have finished it, and it was stamped in black ink with DONE.

So I’m sitting here, at my desk (I never sat at my desk for the entirety of my degree and now that it’s finished I’m sitting at my desk) thinking, “Well now what?”

I got to relax. I got to sleep in. I took a really great shower and got in fresh pajamas. I got to catch up on some sermons I missed from my church back home. I got organize my desk and get all the previous project paperwork off of it. I lit a candle. I had my favorite tea, and then drank more water like I know I’m supposed to. I spent some time on skype with three different people I love. Days like this are some of my favorites. They aren’t rushed, and they don’t have deadlines or loads of pressure looming over them. These types of days are needed.

But the idea of them going on indefinitely, without something additionally there for me to work on, gets me a bit restless. As great as today was, I don’t want the next month of my life to pass exactly the same as today did. It would be easy to do, just repeat over and over again what is easy and comfortable, but it wouldn’t be enough. To have something in progress again, to set a goal and start working on it practically, is essential. If I have no goals, I will make no progress. And lack of progress and growth in my life scares me more than my uncertainty over which direction to turn next.

So I spent some of my late afternoon writing down a quick list of things that I want to do in the next month. Not necessarily super crazy “commit to a master’s degree” or “decide to learn latin” or anything like that. I’ve got a month before returning home for the summer and I want to make it count by perhaps accomplishing some goals that have fallen through my fingers when I prioritized bigger, more important things.

So here are a couple of things that I jotted down really quickly that I want to do this month:

  • Write more consistent blog posts
  • Keep track of job boards
  • Plan trip back to America with friends (make to-do lists and sort out road trip details)
  • Sort through all leftover uni notes and paperwork
  • Find a new suitcase (mine broke during my last trip across the ocean)
  • Slowly pack up
  • Drink more water

Now granted, there are some slightly more specific lists underneath many of those vague ones. I have an entire list of books that I want to read that I’m pretty sure cannot fit into the month of May, but it’s enough to get me started, and I fully intend to add more long-term goals. For now, it’s enough to keep making progress, and that’s what really matters to me.

You don’t have to wait until January 1st to start new goals. Finish old ones. Celebrate the freedom that comes with knowing you worked hard and got the job done. Then begin to pursue growth again more than fearing which direction to take. Dream a new dream, and start walking towards it today.

*starts humming songs from Tangled*

25 things that are great in life right now madeleine hagan the salt compass

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