Does anyone else feel like they’re experiencing the verses in “Work,” by Rihanna? Let’s be real honest, nobody knows exactly what she’s saying, but we all pretend to mumble along until she hits lyrics we can decipher.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been stuck mumbling along. Everything seems to be so fast-paced, be it in class or just in daily life, that I’m having trouble keeping up. I have brief spurts of confidence when I feel comfortable enough singing along, but those only last for a short while. The end of the semester looms, and there is so much I want like to accomplish before that time comes. Graduation hovers just behind, signifying the end of this chapter of my life, and there is so much I would like to process and understand before that change happens. After the day of graduation, I have three more days in Ann Arbor, and then I leave Michigan. I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. It’s going to be such a permanent shift that I want to make the most of the time I have here.

Before I graduate, I want to produce this capstone project, and make it amazing. I want to celebrate our hard work with my senior design team. I want to thank the professors and peers of mine that have taught, encouraged, and struggled with me through the past four years.

Before I leave, I want to finish my edible Ann Arbor bucket list. I want to watch the sun set over the Big House one last time. I want to spend rich, quality time with the people that have come to be so dear to me during my time in Ann Arbor.

I don’t want to trip over my words or myself when I do these things. I don’t want to be mumbling along—I’d much prefer the chance to sing along at the top of my lungs.

What do you want to do before you leave?

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.