The Dreaded Question

What are you going to do after you graduate? It’s a question that might invoke a fight or flight response. It’s a question that you may have been asked since your first year in college, and you still don’t have any idea of the answer, or you know exactly what you are going to do, or you are somewhere in between. Whatever the case is for you, it’s all OK. This course, the biology faculty, and others at KSC are here to help you find the answer, or help you make sure that the answer you have, is the right one for you, for now.

My hope is that this class will be a journey for you, that it becomes an exploration of yourself. You’ve spent a few years now studying biology and other subjects, engaging in the activities of the research lab, the library, the gym, the field, the student center, elsewhere on campus, and off campus, your job, your family, your friends-  your life.  Now you are at this place of transitioning into something new, from student into ‘not-student’ (or at least ‘not undergraduate’), from biology student into biologist, from student into professional – maybe sooner for some, a little later for others. But in any case, you are going to be contemplating this “After Keene State, what’s next?” question all semester.  Excitement, relief, and terror may all kind to mind. Some of these emotions may resonate more strongly with you then others, and you may have other feelings still.  I’ve often used the metaphor that my students seem to be running as fast as they can while they are in school here, always looking to “be done”, with something. But many don’t realize that it’s a like running towards the edge of a cliff. Graduation day is that precipice you are about to jump off- hence the terror, because it’s pretty damn high.

But there’s also excitement, because you can start to see where you are going, you can focus more sharply now, and direct that pathway more intentionally. This semester is a chance to slow down a bit and think about the directions that you’re running towards and the possible edges that you might reach. And there is relief, because you’ve been spending time creating that parachute or hang glider or whatever it is that will allow you to soar, glide, float and find your place of settling- at least for now. My hope is that this course will be a place to help you strengthen and build that hang glider that you’ve been working so diligently on all of this time. And learn how to steer it where you really want to end up.

I look forward to doing this work with you this semester and watching you fly!