July 13, 2017 | PRA Culture | Aly Feye On May 14th, I was officially done with college. I know they say that time flies, but I truly feel like just yesterday I was a freshman, not knowing what to expect of college or where my life was going to be at the end of 4 years. It is a surreal feeling knowing that come September, I will not be heading back to Siena. I always had a plan in my head that I would go to law school directly after college. However, after spending a semester in D.C. and meeting many attorneys who suggested taking time off and working before making the commitment to law school, I realized that it was not a bad idea to wait before making a life-changing decision/investment. It was not until I started interning at PRA that I realized there are many other ways to work within the criminal justice system and that I should not just commit to law school before exploring other options. Throughout my college career and my time at PRA, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve come to realize that I hate being stagnant. I feel restless when I am not actively working towards achieving a goal. For the past 4 years, I was working towards achieving a bachelor’s degree. Now that I have achieved that goal, a question has presented itself: “what exactly am I working towards if I am not working towards another degree?” The truth is, after spending almost my entire life being a student, the thought of not being in school scares me. I am still learning to accept that it is ok to not have your entire life planned out step by step (it usually never goes as planned, anyway). A professor in D.C. once told me this analogy: “your time in D.C. is like a sponge: you need to really squeeze it.” The saying “squeeze it” has stuck with me ever since. What he meant by this was that it was important for me to make the most of my time in D.C. It was not just about getting an internship and adding it to my resume, it was about making lifelong connections, putting my best foot forward every day, and making good impressions; experiencing D.C. and all it had to offer; and truly bettering myself through these experiences. It is not just about going through the motions, but making the best of them. The way I see it, this analogy does not just apply to my career and education, but to my entire life. Life is short and I try to “squeeze it” every day. Working here at PRA has been a great learning experience for me and has presented many opportunities for me to “squeeze it.” I am surrounded by incredible individuals who inspire me and motivate me to grow and challenge myself. I could not ask for a better first fulltime job. So, as the question has presented itself: “what am I working towards if it is not another degree?” I think I have come to find my answer: I am working towards bettering myself through gaining experience in a field that I am immensely passionate about…and whatever degree(s) I decide I want can come later.