Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 16, 2024

Looking ahead to my Long Island interlude

By MADELYN KYE | May 21, 2024

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COURTESY OF MADELYN KYE

Kye reflects on what it means to have no plans for after graduation and return to Long Island.  

Much like the last day of a vacation, my excessive awareness of the fact that my time at Hopkins is coming to a close has made it difficult to fully enjoy myself. Instead, whenever I check my calendar, I find myself counting the number of weeks left until graduation — and, six days later, my flight home. 

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. There are many benefits to returning home to Long Island after college. I grew up in Huntington, about an hour from Manhattan, and I have a lot of family in the area. For me, going home means hanging out by my grandparents’ pool with my sister and cousins; it means going to Rosa’s Pizza with my neighbors; it means curling up on my parents’ orange couch with a book and a cat. 

Typically, I indulge in these relaxing activities for a few short, idling weeks before returning to Hopkins for my next semester — but this time will be different. Following my graduation, I have almost nothing planned. I have a doctor’s appointment at the end of May, my dad’s ultimate frisbee tournament in June, my cousin’s wedding in August — and that’s about it.

Logically, I know I’ll benefit from taking a breather — and that I’m incredibly privileged to be able to take one — but slowing down has never been very easy for me. I crave structure, crafting it where it doesn’t already exist, whether I’m challenging myself to read as many books as I can over winter break or signing up for a spring half-marathon, and I don’t know where I’m going to find it once I’m out of school. I’m trying to be grateful for the opportunity to slow down and spend time with family before starting to work full-time, but my own hopes and ambitions — and the pre-professional culture at Hopkins — have made it difficult for me to accept that taking an unstructured break after graduation may be what I need. 

Truthfully, I don’t want to be taking a break. I had hoped to be attending graduate school this fall, and, when that didn't work out, I modified my post-grad ambitions accordingly. I tried to get myself excited about the premise of accepting a job, moving somewhere new and starting the next chapter of my life alongside my friends but I haven’t found the right fit yet — and I would rather sit in my discomfort at home for a few weeks or months than accept a job that I know I’ll dislike (as I nearly did). 

At a school like Hopkins, where many students follow straightforward, pre-professional trajectories, I’ve been finding it difficult to tell people that I don’t know what’s next for me and that I’m moving home indefinitely. While I know it isn’t true, it often feels like everyone surrounding me has had their next steps fall seamlessly into place, receiving dream offers from jobs, graduate programs, fellowships and the like. 

As tricky as it is to prepare to celebrate my graduation in the midst of so much uncertainty, I know that I nevertheless have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve absolutely loved my time at Hopkins — I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had or the relationships I’ve formed here for the world. I believe in myself and my potential, even if it’s going to take me a little longer to figure out what comes next for me. 

Every day, I get closer to figuring out what I want my life after college to resemble. There are so many opportunities ahead of me, it’s difficult to choose what path to take — family, friends and professors keep telling me that the world is my oyster — but Long Island is as good a place as any to continue working toward the answer to that question. Besides, if the previous times I’ve spent at home over school breaks have taught me anything, it’s that there’s a lot to enjoy about a Long Island interlude. 

Madelyn Kye is from Long Island, N.Y. and is graduating with a degree in Writing Seminars and International Studies and minors in French and History. She is a former Voices Editor for The News-Letter.


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