When A Plan Doesn't Go As Planned

When A Plan Doesn't Go As Planned

I am a planner, and I like to have an idea of what my future will look like, or at least a vision of what I’m going to do. Coming to D.C. to participate in The Washington Center’s Academic Internship Program was part of my plan all along since freshman year.


I did a lot of research about it, talked to friends who had done it, and looked into potential internship sites even before I got accepted. And I got it! I thought things were going well...until I realized I have no idea what I’m going to do next. Have you ever felt like you have been chasing after something for so long that once you get it you just feel empty and lost and don’t really know what is going to happen next? Well, that’s exactly how I've felt recently.

Courtesy of TimothyKitching.com


A little background here. I’m a senior in college, and I was a communications and marketing major for two years before switching to finance in the fall of last year. It was quite a change. But it felt right when I decided to do it. Since then, I knew that I had to do The Washington Center’s program because I started later than my finance peers and I needed more hands-on experience. But now that I’m in D.C. doing what I wanted to do, things started to unfold and revealed that I have so many uncertainties for the future ahead.

As part of my internship, I work with a lot of numbers and data analysis. I was never a big fan of numbers hence why I didn’t major in math. However, I like the aspect of finance that allows you to interpret numbers and make sense of them in certain ways in order to make financial decisions. Despite the fact that this was what I thought I’d enjoy doing, working 9 to 5 every day in front of a computer screen made me realize how much I dislike being kept inside having little or no interaction with people outside of my office. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my coworkers’ company very much. I just don’t feel like I belong behind the table. And that made me question my entire decision of working in this field.

Besides having an internship and taking an evening course at The Washington Center, I am planning a tour for my college’s concert choir to go to Vietnam in January 2018. As time-consuming as it is, I found it interesting that I actually enjoy event planning a lot. The uncertainty about my career combined with the excitement of finding a new interest has left me feeling torn. And God knows how much I hate being in the middle of a crosswalk and not knowing which path to take.

I’m a thinker too, and oftentimes my thinking goes beyond necessary. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how fast time has passed and how little time I have left in D.C. I realized I am not ready to go back to school, to leave this experience behind and to be a normal student again. I know that soon I will graduate, but that doesn’t justify the fact that the semester is one month and one week away from ending. The city still has so much left for me to explore, and there are so many more memories to be created. While having a small mental breakdown the other day about the ending of this experience, I even thought about extending my time in D.C. by taking next semester off and looking for opportunities to stay. But then it would add a lot of chaos to my academic schedule.

There are so many questions left unanswered. As much as I hate feeling that I’m making no progress in resolving my uncertainties, I think it’s a sign of growth. You can only find out what you really want to do after you’ve tried and failed, and tried again and found your way. I very much look forward to the day that I find my path, but until then, I think having a little anxiety and uncertainty about the future is also a normal process that almost everyone goes through. I’ve done some meditation and self reflection lately, and I think it’s helping. Even though it’s taking longer than I expected to find my answers, I believe they will come to me naturally, eventually. Today, I wrote this down as part of my self reflection, and it made me feel much better. Tomorrow, I’ll continue my answer-seeking/uncertainty-resolving process, and I believe I will conquer it soon.


Read Sean's previous blog posts

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More