Ha, yes, it does sound dramatic. But I can sympathize. I remember being in high school—I went to a pretty intense all-girls school in Manhattan—and feeling the exact same way: what was I going to do when I was a grown-up? Where would I go to college? What would I major in? And then, four years later, in college feeling the exact same way: I didn’t love pre-med, the track I had chosen, but if not that, what? And then once I graduated and—as is inevitable for children of the recession—floundering again when I couldn’t find a job in editorial right away and worked at a… gasp… law firm for a few months. My point, my dear, is that what you’re feeling is totally normal not just at fifteen or sixteen but at twenty five or even thirty five. Life is a series of calibrations, assessments, and fine-tuning. What you want will continue to change over time. It’s best, then, to be flexible. The best preparation is to keep your heart/soul/brain open to possibilities. And, ps, of all of my very driven, very type A friends who were psychotically set on what they wanted in high school or college, literally only one (who wanted to be a marine biologist) is doing exactly what she thought she would be. She lives on a boat in Antartica and is as happy as a clam. Everyone else’s career? It was a journey. But a good one!
Oh! Your message makes me so happy because a) I love stationery. It is without doubt one of my favorite things in the galaxy. (Want proof? Check out this Instagram picture—that’s just the paper I brought with me to Los Angeles!). And b) I’m happy you’re establishing good habits so early in your career. That show of gratitude will be remembered—by your professor who you might need a graduate school or job recommendation from, friends who you’ll always want to be by your side. I remember every thank you note I’ve ever received from former interns or staff members. Not because of their particular eloquence (though many of them were) but because, shockingly, it was a rare occurrence. Anyway, enough lecturing… Here are some of my favorite stationery brands: Iomoi, Tinyprints, Minted are on the lower end… Medium range: Dempsey and Carroll, who have a bi-annual sale that is major (sign up on their website now for an alert). And if you can splurge, Smythson, absolutely.