I am a planner through and through. Since birth I have been creating detailed life plans to help me reach my lofty goals. Some examples:
When I was 3 years old, I heard my family say that I could be anything I wanted to be. I took it literally, so I wanted to be a butterfly – a hard goal to plan for.
Around Years 4 and 5, I decided to settle on the much more realistic goal of becoming a country music singer.
I can’t tell you how many afternoons were spent playing air guitar while jumping on my bed, envisioning the super cool songs I would write about my awesome life experiences and how famous I would be by the age of 16. (You can thank my very supportive parents and Shania Twain’s “Come On Over” album for this embarrassing visual.)
Cue the whining for my first guitar and the pretend photo shoots for my first album cover art. Now this was something I could plan for.
Then around Years 9 and 10, I began looking at colleges. To be clear, no, my parents did not begin to drag me to campus tours at this point. But college years were closing in, and I needed to know the lowest SAT score Princeton University would accept. And don’t worry, I found Plans B through Z, just in case.
Fast forward to looking at colleges for real. I told everyone who would listen about my plan. “I will major in broadcast journalism and become the next Oprah.” I kid you not, I studied her path through the field of journalism and subscribed myself to following it as closely as possible. I mentally prepared myself for the hard-hitting interviews with A-listers everywhere on my very own stage in my very own studio. Unrealistic goal? Maybe. Did it stop me from coming up with a plan? Of course not.
Judging myself by these standards, I guess college was a major failure for me. I haven’t won a Country Music Award. I’m not graduating from an Ivy League school. And I have not anchored the local evening news in Tennessee, putting me years behind Winfrey.
But if I have learned one thing throughout my three-and-a-half years here, it’s that you can plan and plan and plan, but life will still happen how it’s meant to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a very detailed day planner, complete with its own color-coding system to help map out my life and my future, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t make me a failure when it doesn’t happen how I expected.
In fact, I have found that the best things in my life come to me when I’m too busy making plans for something else.
If I had stuck to my plan, I might never have joined AOII, written for The Setonian or interned at CNBC, three things that have become part of my present and my future.
To quote Doris Day and my grandma Teresa Minervini, “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see.”
Leaving Seton Hall is less terrifying knowing that there’s a plan for me that’s bigger than my gold leather-bound day planner, and that I just don’t know it yet. I can’t wait to find out what it is.
Brianna Bernath is a senior journalism major from Old Bridge, N.J. She is graduating in December and will be working as a Desk Producer at CNBC’s Assignment Desk.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.