As my graduation from Pitt is quickly approaching, I find myself in a state of uncertainty about my future. With degrees in environmental studies and anthropology, I had a broad range of interests but I still lack clear direction. It was in this state of mind that I embarked on a transformative month-long trip to India, where a 10-day-trek through the mesmerizing landscapes served as a catalyst for my personal growth and newfound clarity.
From the moment I set foot in India, my thoughts and fears about the future seemed to dissipate. The vibrant culture, rich history, and natural beauty seemed to envelop me, and I felt as if I was exactly where I needed to be. But as I returned home, a sense of restlessness accompanied and I couldn’t help but wonder, “Now what?” The experiences in India ignited a fire under me, and I longed for a career that would immerse myself in the beauty of the world and the diverse cultures it held. My first days at home were consumed with researching jobs similar to those of my guides, Vipul and Gaurav, hoping to find a path that aligned with my newfound purpose. I yearn to find a job where I also feel like I am exactly where I need to be, where I am no longer questioning what is supposed to come next and to continue this feeling of excitement and bliss.
Although the memories in India began to fade as the routine of daily life took over, the experiences have still left a mark in my mind as I dip my toothbrush under the faucet or savor a Wawa hoagie that I dreamed about on the trek. In an attempt to hold onto the essence of India, I visited an Indian grocery store back in the states and stocked my house full of Frutti and Masala Munch, Yet, without the 20 cent receipt, the constant honks of scooters, and the beautiful mountain backdrop, the chips did not taste the same. It was the amalgamation of culture and nature that made India feel so special (and delicious). Now, back in the rhythm of daily life, I find myself caught up in the demands of life and work. It is only when I see some reminders, such as watching a duo perform a special handshake (Vipul made handshakes with us) that takes me right back to India, and all of the feelings that come with it. The ‘me’ that was in India was not left there. It was carried with me back to America and came to say “hello!” when I get little reminders of my time in the mountains. My expectations of living the dream were met, and I only wish that it was longer.
I am still lost in the job search and unsure of what the shape this dream job would take, but now I know the feeling I am chasing – the sense of being exactly where I need to be. As I navigate the job market, I am holding on to the belief that there is a path that aligns with my passions and expertise. Vipul taught me to be patient, and to not worry about potential professional failures, as he had many but still found his dream. The journey ahead of me seems daunting, but I am determined to create a future that mirrors the fascination of life I experienced in India. Whether it be working for Outward Bound hosting expeditions, taking students to foreign lands, or conducting field research on sustainable practices, I am optimistic of the opportunities ahead of me. We shall see! 🙂