Are you a planner? 2020 said, "That's a funny joke!" This week, we talk about how "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
We all have people in our lives that we look up to for one reason or another, but it's even cooler when one of those people also happens to be your friend. At the end of my junior year, I was introduced to @whit_doin_things through our mutual scholar program and our senior capstone. I didn't know it then, but she would become someone who I would look up to throughout our senior year (and to this day). Whitley is probably one of the most dynamic people I know, and as her username on Instagram states, she's always juggling one hundred things at once and executing them seamlessly. I admire her so much because she goes about all of her tasks with a smile on her face (and with some good jokes along the way).
Both @whit_doin_things and I thought we'd be in extremely different positions than we are right now, which can be super challenging to navigate as post-graduates. We have had some great conversations over the last six months, so I thought who better to give some advice on being a planner during these crazy times?
As our constant disclaimer, the Conversation Corner has one rule: it will always be real. No B.S., because quite frankly there is enough of that already on the internet.
So here we go...
DD: Quote you live by?
WT: "All gas, no brakes."
DD: Explain that quote a little bit more for me?
WT: "I have always been a go-getter. I feel like I am always juggling a million things at one time. Ever since I was a little girl, I have filled my time with a million activities, assignments, plans, and more. It’s important to me to fill my time as much as possible. I think I feel more content with myself and my life the busier I am. Seems like a weird psychological thing, but I think the more I have going on the happier I am. Sometimes I feel like I never slow down. That being said, I’m sure you can imagine that these past six or so months have forced me to slow down - which I never dreamed would happen at this point in my life."
DD: What has it been like to go from having amazing opportunities lined up in March, to have the pandemic drastically alter your post-grad plans?
WT: "As I said, I am the ultimate go-getter and overachiever. I came into college thinking I knew exactly what I wanted my major to be, what my next four years were going to look like, and where my life post-grad was going to take me. As I continued in my college career, I continued to push forward, so I could set myself up for my post-college life. I did a sh*t-ton of internships, I worked hard in my classes, I networked like no tomorrow. I thought for sure that I would be cruising to graduation with multiple job offers in hand. (When I) even flashback to the beginning of senior year and I was on track to having a job by May."
"Then as soon as the world turned upside down in March, I had what almost felt like an existential crisis. Now that I was forced to move home in two days’ notice and everything I had scheduled being thrown out the window, I had to take a step back. I won’t even lie, it took me months to finally come to the realization and to admit to myself that it was okay that this sudden shift had happened in my life. I had to sit back and realize that life is going to move on, even if it’s not on the timeline I thought it would. I kept reminding myself that good things take time, but I kept thinking - okay, God/universe/whoever is supposed to have my back, what's taking so long!?"
"But, I feel like now that I’ve been post-grad for five months now, and I’m still unemployed, that I have finally come to terms with this mantra. I know life has a way of working itself out and it’s only a matter of time before my life is somewhat “back on track.” Not that I should be thinking that I got off the track in the first place!"
DD: You are the most pulled-together person I know, so how do you move forward without a "set" plan?
WT: "My calendar has never. been. more. empty. I’m sure you can tell that this alone has brought me so much stress. But really, I have had to learn that that’s okay. Life will be back to “normal” someday and I’ll wish that my calendar was this empty. I have tried to teach myself during this time to even plan out the little things and create a schedule as much as possible each day. This way, I feel like I am continuing to push myself and stay accountable. Whether it’s small personal tasks like working out or doing laundry, to the bigger more important tasks like networking or applying to jobs, I try to schedule out my time each day. This makes my days feel fulfilled (and routined) in this confusing time period."
"And, as I said, I know that life will soon work itself out and that I will look back on this year of my life and wonder, why I spent so much time stressed out? I have had many other times in my life that I’ve been scared of the unknown or scared of what’s to come, and those times have worked out. So why stress now? Good things take time."
DD: How have you grown during post-grad life?
WT: "Now that I have had so much more time on my hands, and I haven’t been all gas, no breaks for the past few months, I feel like I have been able to focus on my version of “self-care.” While I don’t equate face masks and alone time to self-care like you might, I kind of think of self-care in terms of dedicating time to finding new hobbies and passion projects. This is what has led me to probably my favorite thing to come out of my quarantine time - WHIT DOIN’ CHEESEBOARDS!!!!"
"While I can be found on Instagram as @whit_doin_things, I have created and founded my own cheeseboard and charcuterie catering business this summer. What just started out as a fun hobby, I have always loved creating beautiful hors d’oeuvres for friends and family. I love putting together intricately designed trays and sharing them with the world. I have taken this passion project and taken it to market, and I have been selling cheeseboards all summer. And I can’t even tell you how busy I’ve been! I’ve been fulfilling multiple orders a week, and I have been growing my business and reaching as much as I can. (Follow me @whit_doin_cheeseboards on Instagram and Whit Doin’ Cheeseboards on Facebook!)"
"I never imagined that something like this would bring me such joy in a time like this. I am so excited to continue to grow in this business and keep it going as a side hustle for as long as I can."
"My advice is to find something you’re passionate about and hit the ground running with it. You never know where it may take you."
DD: Now for our final question of each interview, what now?
WT: "For now, I am still deep in the job search but very hopeful that it will work out soon. The overachiever in me is continuing to want to work my butt off. But for the time being, I’m just trying to enjoy myself. I know that I will look back on this time years from now (probably just months from now) and wish that I had this time back. So, I will continue to try to look on the positive side of life and take advantage of this time. But in the meantime, I will try to find meaning in my days and continue to push myself to take time to slow down and put my passions to work."
"Life will work itself out. I swear it will."