Lyrics of Wisdom
Whenever I’m dealing with stress and difficult transitions in my life, I turn to music. I find that one lyric in that one song that just gets me and expresses everything I’m feeling at that exact moment. Then, I usually listen to song on repeat until I feel ready to move on to other thoughts.
At this point in the semester, I’m finding myself confused, terrified, and overwhelmed by my future, the job search, and the important life decisions coming down the pike. I think most grad students who are getting ready to graduate can relate on some level to those feelings. Let’s be honest. The unknown sucks. We don’t have a crystal ball. And, change (as much as it’s exciting and welcomed), it’s really difficult to deal with in the moment.
As I’m trying to make some big life choices and determine my direction, I’ve been turning to certain songs that seem to encapsulate my emotions, general thoughts, and words of advice. I wanted to share them with you, so I hope you enjoy!
Control Your Destiny
“Who cares if you disagree.
You are not me.
Who made you king of anything?
So, you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?”
– Sara Bareilles “King of Anything”
As we’re all making big decisions and figuring out our next steps in life, I think it’s so important to remember that WE are the Kings/Queens of OUR OWN destinies. People will have their opinions. You may have voices (whether family, friends, or peers) trying to influence you and push you in one direction or another. While it’s okay to listen to these other voices, it’s important to make sure that your voice is the loudest. Others may disagree with your decisions, but that’s cool. They’re entitled to their opinions, but if you’re ever faced with someone trying to steer your decision, just sing to yourself: Who died and made you king of anything? You’ll feel empowered… I promise.
Write Your Own Story
“No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten…”
– Natasha Bedingfield “Unwritten”
When you’re trying to make decisions regarding your first career move after grad school, it’s really easy to feel like a blank slate. You may have an idea of what you want your future to look like, but, in reality, you really don’t know how it’s all going to play out. There’s something really magical and extremely scary about your life being “unwritten” because that means that the future is completely unknown. What’s important is that you hold the pen and you write the story. Embrace the ambiguity of your future even though it’s often hard to do so without panic. This song really helps make me feel more excited about writing my own story and steering my own life.
Don’t Give Up
“Play on when you’re losing the game
Plan on ’cause you’re gonna make mistakes
It’s always worth the sacrifice
Even when you think you’re wrong
So, play on…”
– Carrie Underwood “Play On”
It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when nearing the end of grad school and approaching the brink of your career. Even more so, starting a new job is scary! It’s going to be hard to transition to a new environment, new people, new responsibilities, and new expectations. There will be many moments where we’ll feel like we’re “losing the game,” but it’s important to never give up…and, play on.
Have Faith, Take Chances, Dance
“Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.
And, when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance…”
– Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance”
At various points in a grad student’s job search, doors close & open. Sometimes, others close the door for you, as you receive that awful letter/email/phone call of rejection. Other times, you gently close the door yourself by deciding to decline an opportunity because it just doesn’t feel right. Throughout the process of opening and closing doors, it’s so important to continue to have faith, take chances, and dance. For me, dancing is about taking a risk and trying something new. It’s about not giving up at the first occurrence of failure or making a mistake. It’s about getting out there and doing, acting, and pushing yourself to move forward.
“Let go, let go, jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It’s alright ’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
Let go, just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s alright ’cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.”
– Frou Frou “Let Go”
At a certain point as a grad student, you have to stop worrying, make a decision, and literally let go. I’m pretty good at over thinking things and worrying about whether or not I’m making the “right” decision. Unfortunately, none of us will ever really know if a decision we’ve made was the right one. It’s just the “right now” one. It’s what feels right at the moment. You can make your lists of pros and cons and try to quantify your decisions with numbers and codes, but, at the end of the day, you just have to make a decision that feels right, stick with it, and make the best of the situation. Letting go is about taking a leap of faith and heading head-first into whatever next step you’re taking. In the job search, there will be a point at which we all have to decide whether or not we’re going to “let go” and take the leap to accept a position. I’m hoping it’ll feel right when it happens to me. Regardless, it’s going to be a free fall that will encompass an element of excitement and terror.
I hope you find some of these lyrics helpful or inspiring. Maybe they’ll strike a cord for you like they’ve done for me…