As a recent college graduate I’ve thought a lot on the topic of success. What does it mean to be successful? Am I, in fact, successful? I came to the realization that it means different things for different people and that I shouldn’t try to define it based on someone else’s expectations.

In the few months since graduating, I landed my first job, working in the alumni affairs office at Berklee. It’s offered new and exciting challenges as well as a peaceful feeling of comfort. My first day on the job I knew exactly where I needed to go, already had a small rolodex of people I knew I could count on for favors and was completely comforted by the fact that I knew where the bathroom was. I was able to focus less on finding my way around and focus more on my job description, learning how to use computer programs I had never laid eyes on before and ultimately take my first step into adulthood. (I also made new friends quickly at new hire orientation because I was able to show them around!) Now, six months in, I’m still learning new things every day, but feel acquainted enough with the job to know what my role is. It’s a cool feeling knowing that the work you do matters and that other people are counting on you as part of a team. I’ve been able to take everything I’ve learned all through my life, piece it together with the skills I acquired at my internship and bam, I am officially a young professional. All of this, to me, is being successful.

I used to constantly worry about what other people expected of me. Being an over achiever all my life, I was that kid that always did what I thought was best for me in the long run. Granted, it’s gotten me far and I couldn’t be happier about my decisions. I always had a plan. Take all honors classes in high school. Go to college. Graduate. Get a job. Then what? The “plan” has been halted, mostly because I don’t have one. At first, I was very thrown off by this. It put me in this weird place and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt like I had nothing to work towards, no outstanding goal that I needed to achieve. But then, I realized that it was okay. I go to work everyday, constantly working to improve. I pay all my bills on time and am slowly chipping away at my student loan debt. I’ve thought a lot about graduate school and contemplate what master’s degree I’d like to work towards. I realized that the older I got my goals were less black and white and more of a grey area. I came to the conclusion that by just working hard and being able to sustain myself all on my own was a huge goal that I was always working towards. I started to feel better about not having a “plan” and became comfortable with just living. It’s given me a new perspective on life and now that I’m not a student any more with homework and a part time job and an internship, I have a lot more free time. I’ve been able to get back into things that I put aside when I was super busy with the “plan” and it feels great!