Travel Light and Hold on Tight

Anne Guldin Lucas

The title of this blog might suggest that I’m about to launch into a poem.  It’s tempting.  Spring and its beauty can certainly inspire songs and poetry in those talented enough to create such work.  Lucky for you I don’t possess those talents, so I’ll spare you any attempts at creativity.  So as I begin to type, I’m not sure what path I am following today.  Maybe that mystery actually speaks to the title and subject of this blog.

While your life to date may have been somewhat predictable—elementary school, middle school, high school, college, what comes next isn’t always a straight line.  For some it’s grad school—more tests, applications with mostly synchronized deadlines, acceptances, and an academic year.  For those seeking jobs or other post-graduation experiences, it’s seldom that simple.  Recently I’ve met with students who are rejoicing in job offers—and yet trying to juggle negotiations to buy time to see what other opportunities are presented to them.  Can they get a response from another employer in time to know their options for the summer or for next year?  Or will they say “yes,” withdrawing other applications, and never knowing what may have been…That happens a lot.  Ultimately you must make a decision and move on.

Speaking of moving, my daughter, who graduated from college in 2008, is currently planning her FIFTH move since graduation.  My husband and I are cleaning out the cupboards and closets of our home of over 28 years.  As you might imagine, our family is extremely focused on idea of “traveling light” right now.  Our daughter regrets buying that large and heavy bedroom furniture for her first post-college apartment, which was rather spacious.  It took the removal of windows from her bedroom to get the furniture into her current apartment, and the same technique will be required to get it out again in a few months.  The Number One requirement for her next apartment building will be an elevator—a LARGE elevator—along with strong movers–again.

She needs new living room furniture, and I’m recommending inflatable furniture in keeping with the goal of traveling light.  For those of you who are aspiring inventors, entrepreneurs, or investors, “plastics” may be returning as a buzz word.  Inflatable plastic furniture would be ideal for every young person who is entering the work world.  Between job changes and roommate changes, you will be on the move.  So travel light!  And if you need anything to get started wherever you land, please get in touch with me, and I’ll share with you some of the “treasures” that we have accumulated in the past 28 years (and perhaps even some things that my parents gathered even earlier and passed onto our attic).

As for the hanging on tight, I recommend to you that you hold on to people and relationships rather than stuff.  Nurture the friendships that you’re making at Penn.  Value your family.  There will probably be many phases of your life during which you will live far from your loved ones.  However, thanks especially to today’s technology, you can stay connected.  Be sure to talk on your cell phone or Skype, so that it’s not just texts and emails.  Even better, save your money and look for deals to travel to be together in person.  And when you’re together, get off those devices and really talk.  Sadly the art of conversation is dying, and I hope that you’ll help rescue it.

Enjoy  these lovely days of Spring.  Write a poem; sing a song.  And remember as you move away from Penn for the summer or for the rest of your life, to travel light, and hold on tight.

Author: Anne Lucas

Anne Lucas is a career counselor at Penn Career Services. Currently, she works with students in the College of Arts & Sciences.