The winding road of life post-graduation


“Where do you want to be in five years?” Starting at age 18, you start to hear this question pop up in your life – from family to classmates to coworkers, a lot of people want to have a plan, and want to know yours.

And if you’re anything like me, you always had an answer – or, maybe you didn’t, but you definitely have passing thoughts of how you want your life to look, even if it is something as simple as “I want to one day be able to afford that beautiful Saint Laurent bag” (hey, we all have goals, right?).


So, what happens when your life doesn’t turn out like you exactly expected? When you keep taking risk after risk, never really staying in one place for too long, because you’re hungry for change and adventure? Well, you probably experience a life similar to mine since leaving the beautiful and protective grounds of Mercyhurst.

Seven apartments, four cities, and two tattoos later, I am lucky enough to say that I have had amazing and unique experiences since graduating college. I have traveled the East Coast back to the Midwest, sang many karaoke songs in Queens, been to some wicked fun Red Sox games in Boston, walked along the black and yellow covered streets of the Strip in Pittsburgh, and now I’m enjoying the Lake Michigan life in Grand Rapids.


Add to that list above four separate jobs, and now at my fourth different company; none of this would be possible without an open mind to find my passion. From production, to allocation, to planning, to ultimately buying, it’s been a journey with ups and downs, but I would never trade any of it away. It has allowed me to really hone in on what I want out of a career, who I want to be as a person, and on the lighter side, do I want hard wood floors or carpet in my apartment.

Above everything else, after all this time, I can’t put into words what a thrill it is to walk into a store, and see the merchandise that you believe in, that you have passion for, just there, waiting for others to see your product and feel that same excitement.


And I can’t tell you how sweet a sensation it is to be walking down the street, and see someone in that one shirt that you took a risk on. Or seeing your final buy in a trend portion of People Style Watch magazine.

So, now where do I want to be in five years? I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily need an answer for that. Taking life day by day has opened and closed many doors, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next challenge!


Kacie Zolkowski, '10

Mercyhurst fashion alum (2010), and current associate buyer at Meijer.