Post-Pre-Proposal Reflections

I feel like a piece of fruit, jumping up and down (on my non-existent legs), screaming at the top of my (non-existent) lungs: “PICK ME! PICK ME!” If I were parodying myself, I’d make a joke here about those old Fruit of the Loom commercials or the annoying orange. But I’m serious. I feel like an inanimate object vying for the attention of anyone who will notice, but, of course, nobody notices, because inanimate objects are inanimate.

The College of Engineering’s career fair was today and yesterday. After trudging around north campus for hours upon hours, clutching my resumes in their block-M folder, fidgeting with my name badge and blazer, and making small talk with recruiters who inevitably tell me to “Apply online, thanks,” I am exhausted. And freaking out just a little bit.

I have worked ridiculously hard (as has almost everyone else I know) over the past four years in order to make myself marketable to employers. Returning to the fruit metaphor, I’ve worked ridiculously hard to be the shiniest, brightest apple on the branch. I’m certainly here at UM to pursue something I’m passionate about. I’m also here to train for a lifelong career, and virtually every choice I make points back to that purpose.

So, as I’m picking a subject for my capstone project, I’m struggling with the fact that nothing I’m excited to work with for the next three months has anything to do with chemical engineering. Or engineering, period. I’m nervous that I could be missing an opportunity to make myself more marketable by choosing the wrong subject.

Is it responsible of me to spend all of this time and energy and creativity on something that doesn’t readily relate to what I think I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life? What defines “responsible” in this situation? Do I care whether or not I want to be “responsible” right now? Isn’t this (the last writing class I will take as an undergrad) on of my last chances to be excusably irresponsible in my life? Am I overthinking this?

Ah, the joys of overthinking: fruit metaphors and endless strings of questions.

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