The Next Step

12 Jun

Today’s inspiration comes from Sunday Scribblings, a site of weekly writing prompts. This week’s prompt is “Next Step.”

What is the next step?

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked myself that, I’d have a total of…a lot of nickels.

Especially now, at the first big crossroads of my life, this question has been haunting me. Graduation looms closer, and I’m beginning to doubt. Am I really good enough to succeed? Do I have enough passion for physics to continue? Do I have what it takes to continue my education on my own, without my friends and family?

I can only imagine what it must be like to not have to make any choices. To have someone else choose for me: what I am, who I am. And part of me envies that image, while at the same time, another part of me hates it.

As difficult as they are, what would anyone be without choices? I’ve already made some that have changed my life in irrevocable ways. But this–this is different. I can’t just skim through the course catalog and pick between regular, advanced placement, and International Baccalaureate. No, this time I have to pick between taking courses of entirely different subjects. Gone are the three and four year requirements: French, English, history. Gone are the textbooks I don’t own, and the bus that picks me up in the morning.

In preparation for these changes, I’ve already made some decisions. To apply for college, to choose a college. But even on the last day of school, a day full of ice cream and pizza and frantic last-minute yearbook signings, it just didn’t seem real. Like I’d still have school on Monday, or an exam next week. Like I’d just be playing in the graduation band, instead of walking across the stage myself. Like in August I’d be shopping for school supplies, rather than moving out of home for the first time.

Everything changes, and the changes come so fast. Get a Facebook, get a Skype. Say goodbye to old friends and hope to find some new ones. Maybe get out of the language requirement, but maybe get stuck with it, instead. It’s kind of depressing, thinking that in two months everything will all be different.

But at the same time, some part of me is ready to take on the world. To know that whatever comes next, I’ll survive. To know that even if I don’t grow out of this uncertainty, this specific uncertainty will grow out of me just like all the others. I just don’t know when.

What’s next? How should I know? But I do know that the next step is to just keep going. I guess that’s the most important part: to keep taking steps, to keep walking forward. Because like Walt Disney said:

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.


Posted by on June 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


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8 responses to “The Next Step

  1. Leonard Blumfeld

    June 13, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Well-written! Wish you luck in taking on the world πŸ™‚

    • Pen

      June 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  2. Bluebell Books

    June 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    bless you.
    lovely story.

    • Pen

      June 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you.

  3. The Other Side of Life

    June 14, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Random hopping landed me here! Nice blog. And well written! πŸ™‚
    I went through the same dilemma a few months back. Hope you solved yours! πŸ™‚

    • Pen

      June 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      Not just yet, unfortunately. I’ve got the college figured out, but now I have to wait until August to tackle everything else.

  4. Mike Patrick

    June 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    No need to get caught up in introspection figuring out where you are going at your age. Life will hand you curves to direct your path in unexpected directions–and that’s a good thing.

    • Pen

      June 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      I know. It’s just the wait for college that’s killing me by making me think too much.


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