2016 has been a pretty remarkable year for me. I traveled to countries I had never dreamed of visiting, finished school, and fulfilled a lifelong goal of living in Japan. I had countless memorable experiences and made friends from across the globe.

Now, it’s time to look forward to 2017 and begin a new chapter.

I realize it’s probably a bit cliche to do a “new year, new me” post, but this year truly is a massive transition. As I finally finished up my undergraduate studies, 2017 is the first year of my entire life where my future isn’t planned out in advance.

Until now, I have always had school to look forward to and even if I strayed from the path a bit (as I ended up doing, graduating a semester later than I was supposed to), I always knew my end goal. Obviously, I still have a plan for my future, but it’s a little more fuzzy. There are some situations that might not end up the way I want them to go, and some chances I’m taking might be setting myself up for disappointment.

That being said, I’ve always been the type of person who believes things will work out, so there’s no point in stressing.

Several times now, I’ve posted about how I was stressing the JET application process and the inevitable job hunt that would follow. I was worried that I would walk into 2017 with no plan as an undesirable employee, destined to betray whichever company I end up working for by quitting shortly after I am brought on.

Perhaps I was being a little dramatic.

I applied for a part-time position at a local office and I managed to get it. I will be starting in January. In addition, the seasonal job I was working for the holidays liked me enough to offer a permanent part-time position with them as well. I went from being afraid of unemployment to landing two jobs that I can work to save up money.

In addition, a company in Singapore that I randomly applied to emailed me back wanting to move me on to the next step of the interview process. That would be a full time position, allowing me to get my foot in the door overseas.

Although I have not heard back from JET at this time, I am still confident that I will have an interview with them. But these other opportunities on top of JET make the interview process a lot less stressful. I actually have choices to work with, and if one of them doesn’t work out the way I want it to, it won’t be devastating.

So I guess the lesson here is to not stress out too hard. There are opportunities everywhere if you look.

No matter what happens, you should always keep an open mind and cast a wide net. Even if you know for a fact that JET is something you want to do, realize that it’s not the only option available and there are many things you can do with your time. A common reaction I see from a lot of people is that when something doesn’t go 100% their way, they act as if it’s a complete disaster or a waste of time.

When I started school, I really wanted to do ROTC. After a couple of classes, I realized that my peanut allergy would cause me to fail the physical portion, and that my allergy was too severe to reasonably expect a waiver. The track for my life seemed to be completely destroyed and for a while I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I kept an open mind and was able to craft new ideas for my future. Even though I wasn’t able to do what I wanted at the time, I thought about the direction I wanted to go and focused on that.

Even though I wasn’t able to graduate in the spring and have my life line up perfectly, I was able to find other jobs and do research while I save up to move overseas. It gives me several months to decide if JET is something I really want to do.

This might just be a blessing in disguise. Already, things are working out a lot more smoothly than I had expected. A lot can happen in a year, so who knows where I could end up.


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