COLUMN: Finding yourself in times of change


Rob Le Cates

Katja Benz is a senior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Katja Benz, Columnist

The Who asked a really good question in their 1978 album: ‘Who Are You?’ 

Not only is that a pretty general question, but it a good one to ask someone when you are applying for a job or you are meeting someone for the first time.  

However, as I’ve spent more time by myself this Thanksgiving break than I would have liked, I’ve been wondering the same thing.  

Breaks are always a bit rough for me. I’m not one to particularly enjoy sitting with my thoughts and many of my friends from my hometown either live out of state now that they have graduated, or they only had Wednesday through Friday off from school.  

Since many of my friends weren’t free to hang out, I had been trying to keep myself busy. I turned in a lot of assignments, worked on some things to tie my graduate school applications and started outlining my last few weeks of classes before finals.  

However, that was easier said than done. I was still thinking a lot about a lot of things that I don’t normally think about.  

I was mostly thinking about who I was, you know as a person, as friend, a student, a soon to be graduate student.  

While doing all of this reflecting, I learned a few things about myself; I learned a few things that I’m not proud of and some that I am.  

I’ve noticed that I do this every time I go through a transition period in my life that I can care enough about to remember: graduating high school, going to community college, going through a pandemic, graduating community college, deciding to take a gap year, going to a four year university and now graduating that university and deciding what to do with my life.  

I know what I want to do, and I know what I have to do to get there, but I’m now at the point in my life where I really don’t know what’s next. Therefore, I’m really starting to question who I am and where I’m going in life.  

I want to eventually work at a university, while also potentially working at a library part-time. While I think libraries are great, they aren’t the type of work setting that I would particularly enjoy working in.  

Therefore, I’m not sure what I really want to do next- of course I’ll apply to graduate school and finish those applications which are due soon. But I have to wait to see if I get accepted to interview for grad assistantship positions, and if I get one after I interview.  

However, if I don’t get into any school I apply to, then I plan on going back to finish the certificate I started in the 2020-2021 school year.  

I know that many of us are feeling really nervous. But I know that there’s a little bit of uncertainty in the unknown, and all we can do is walk through it.  

At least I hope I make it out in the end.  

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.