Plan A, B, & Z

Around the office it’s been unusually quiet.  Due to the Kenan baby boom, there are fewer staff members in the building and with finals done most students are staying far away from academic buildings.  Many students have headed for the beach to get some rest and relaxation before they go off to their various internships, DukeEngage programs, or other assorted plans.  Hopefully during this time students will get a break to get their book lists that have been pushed aside, or catch up on TV shows neglected during the semester.

Seniors are getting ready to graduate this weekend and leave Durham.  I also feel like I’m in the same boat as my year-long will soon conclude.  Right now I’m in that brief interlude that precedes a rollercoaster plunging downhill.  You know you’re secured safely in your seat because brilliant engineers, mechanics and safety officers have worked to design this thrilling adventure.  But, your gut is in this ominous state of not knowing what’s going on before things return to normal.  Your head tells you that everything will be fine in a few seconds but your gut can’t take a hint.

LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, wrote an article In Startups and Life, You Need Plan A, B, and Z.  As the title suggests, Hoffman recommends having backup plans for you backup plans.  He emphasizes the importance of being a flexible yet persistent individual to accomplish the things you want to do.  While I currently have a Plan A, B, and “Z” for the next year, I often feel totally lost about what my long-term plan should be. During a break in our recent spring Advisory Board meeting, one of the Kenan Board Members explained to me that most recent grads have to balance the trifecta: fulfillment at work, lifestyle, and location.  Typically most will not “have it all” and have to figure out which things are the most important.  In my case, during this next year I have been completely uncompromising on my “location.”  I will be in Ireland for a year, be it via my Plan A working for a non-profit and picking up a part time gig, Plan B attending a year-long graduate program, or Plan Z wwoofing.   While I continue to wait for opportunities to shake out, I’m excited and hopeful for this next chapter of my life.  I can only wish the many graduating seniors the same excitement for whatever lies next in their lives plans or no plans.  Congratulations Class of 2016!