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Plan B: Life doesn’t always go according to plan

When I was 18 and about to graduate high school, I had my entire life figured out.

It was a pretty solid plan; I was going to go to college, rock all my classes, join a bunch of cool clubs, finally find the right eyeliner and graduate with honors.

Then, I would go to medical school and land a gig that involved fixing broken hands and fractured hips and bruised ribs. I would earn enough money to pay back for med school and buy a cozy condo overlooking the ocean, happily ever after.

Now that I’m a little older and possibly a little wiser, I will readily admit that I was positively, hysterically delusional. Nice condos with a view? A balanced social, academic and restful life? A 4.0 GPA? Finding my perfect eyeliner by 2017???

Not happening. At least, not that easily.

I confess, I have a horrible tendency to drift into daydream and glamorize the future at any given time.  I love having a plan and I love following the plan even more.

It’s a problem because it has worked. Before stepping foot in DLHS as an actual student, I tentatively had all my classes and extracurricular activities for all four years of high school planned. And I actually went through with it.

Of course, not everything worked out exactly the way I pictured; even high school isn’t that simple. But most things — the important things — worked out. Between a dozen college rejection letters, there was a yes.

I crawled my way out of calculus and physics and weight training. I made great friends. I managed to leave high school a little more mature than I had been when I entered.

So with the glorious success (except not really) that was high school, I thought I could do the same for college.

Long story short, I can’t. Rather, I don’t want to.

By choosing certain paths, I have closed other doors. This semester, I’ve learned the hard way, “quality versus quantity,” and was forced to drop certain responsibilities in order to hold onto others. I’ve learned that the difference between a 4.0 and a 3.6 is more than simply .4; it’s also huge amount of time and energy and take-out dinners and missed human connection.

I don’t know if my priorities have shifted for the better, but I know that something has changed. The dreams I had when I was 18 don’t sit quite right anymore. The choices I need to make for next year’s classes suddenly seem daunting. I don’t have a plan.

It’s a new and unwelcome situation to be in, not knowing what’s ahead and what I want from myself. It’s frustrating and demotivating and frankly, a little scary. I’m scared of choosing the wrong major, wrong career, the wrong life and thinking back to this moment during a midlife crisis 25 years down the road.

Those fears are pretty silly, I know. I’ll probably get over it in a week, I know. And I’m trying. I’m genuinely trying to let go of all my reservations and accept the fact that it’s OK for dreams to change. It’s okay to have this messy, dismal, brilliant life and leave it be for a while. It’s OK to not have everything figured out now. It’s OK.

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.