…,” said the college student.

“Plans. They never really go how you envision them to,” or something like that. I cannot put my finger on whatever movie(s) wrap up the moral of their story with these voiced-over lines, but whatever. Regardless of who has said them–the gregarious, affable, and handsome star of a popular medical series or the teenage boy or girl summing up her coming-of-age story after finding truth through her befriending of Mr. Jones, the neglected elderly, blind man at the end of the street that know one ever noticed until he/she came along –[inhale] these lines are important.

Dr. Craft, the President of Concordia College posted an interesting article the other day in our school newspaper about these lines. I don’t have the paper in front of me to quote, but he said something like, “You don’t know what you are going to do, so stop worrying about it.” Two days ago I was sitting strong with the conviction that I would be doing trail work for AmeriCorps this summer in the beautiful forests of California, and of course, for this blog post to be somewhat interesting, I did not get the position.

I was surprised when I received the email:

Thank you [Matthew Barrett], for applying to our Backcountry Program. We are sorry to inform you… It was an extremely tough decision this year due to the volume of applicants…

And you know how the rest goes.

I was so sure that I was going to get offered the position that I have been sitting comfortably for the past month since I handed in my application, casually telling others when they would ask me about graduation plans that I would be going to California for five months of intensive trail construction. That overconfidence is one of the reasons why I am sort of happy that I was not selected; it was pretty humbling, and as my wise roommate Kristi reiterated from a professor of hers, “We need to recognize our failures just as much as our successes.”

There is a better fit out there, I’m sure. When I was 16 I watched The Guardian and attached myself to the idea of being in the Coast Guard, and when I applied to their summer interest program, I was denied. I was so disheartened, so shocked in fact that I had been denied something for the first time in my life that I gave up on the idea and did not bother applying to the Coast Guard Academy the following year when looking at schools. Perhaps the idea should not have been dropped so easily, or perhaps it was so easy to let go of because there was no strong, sincere desire to be a part of their program. Regardless, I am thankful that after four blurring, disconcerting years, I have wound up here, in Moorhead, MN.

And I guess I am thankful to be given the opportunity to look for something new. Additionally, now I can graduate and walk with my classmates as scheduled, jump into Prexy’s Pond the night of graduation and catch an unidentified skin rash, and find something else to do after graduation. Maybe I can find work at a whole foods co-op? Perhaps I will see firsthand the wonders of Portland’s bike ways, farmers markets, selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. If nothing else, I’ll run away and join the circus.

“Plans. They never really go how you envision them to,” said the slightly disillusioned, yet undeterred college senior 2 months from graduation, owner of a blog that he hopes some day might miraculously land him a job.


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