Graduating from college was always something I’ve dreamed of; something I’ve worked towards my whole academic life. I thought graduating was the key to success, the start of adulthood. Some people go in knowing exactly what they want to major in and what their career path will be. I wasn’t so lucky or sure when it came to those decisions. The months leading up to graduation, I struggled with defining what my passion was.
“What am I supposed to do after I get this diploma?”
“What is the next step for me?”
“How am I going to get a job?”
If you’ve stumbled upon this post randomly, or it was referred to you by a friend, or you know me personally… welcome! If you can already relate, you are not alone.
I am both extremely indecisive and decisive. I am unsure of what I want to do because I am always changing my mind, but I definitely know what I do not want to do. This idea of being unsure about my future has left me feeling uneasy. It’s hard for me to get up everyday and go to a job I hate, a place where I feel unfulfilled, a place where I’m not making a difference or contributing to society, a place where I’m extremely underpaid, but it’s something I have to do.
Sure I have interest; watching hours and hours of Food Network and Cooking Channel programming while recreating the recipes in my home (because I swear I will have my own cooking show or food truck one day), searching Pinterest and browsing through Home Goods for home decor that I hope to have in my future living space, looking at floor tiles, backsplash options and paint chips in Home Depot with my Mom, playing around with computer applications to edit videos and photos (because I also can see myself as an editor or working within production for Scripps Network—Food Network, HGTV, etc.), reading and writing, and trying to figure out ways to educate and give opportunities to the youth/underserved (because I also see myself as a high school English teacher); however, I don’t know how to put any of that into fruition.
Finding a job is definitely more about who you know and what you’ve done, than what degree you have and what institution you matriculated from. But what do you do when you haven’t networked, or you don’t have 5 years of experience required for mediocre “Entry level positions”? Where, or how do you even begin to get your foot in the door?
It’s disheartening when you’re sending in resumes day after day getting “Thank you for your interest in this position. While we were impressed with your background experience, it has been determined that another candidates qualifications more closely match our requirements” emails, or no response at all. I actually appreciate the rejection letters more than no response, since I don’t have to sit and wait around wondering if they’ve viewed my application or not. I haven’t had any experience in internships because I had a job throughout college and working for free didn’t sound as appealing as a paycheck every other week, but I wish I would have given it the chance. Maybe I would’ve made connections or found something I loved to do, and possibly get paid to do after the internship was over. However I am not one to dwell on things I should have or could have done, because I cannot change the past.
I hesitated writing this post, because this is something I am going through right now. I felt like if I didn’t have the answers or any advice to give on life after graduation, then what I had to say would be pointless. I am a really straight forward “ask me and I’ll give advice, and if I don’t have the answer then I’ll find it for you” type of person. My best friend calls me a “human almanac”. So it becomes really distressing for me when I don’t have the answers for myself. I decided to go ahead and share this anyway, because sometimes people aren’t searching for answers (like I always am). Sometimes, people just want to know that they aren’t the only ones facing their current battle/situation. Not everyone has it all together right out of the gate —the gates of college, that is— and although it’s scary, I am learning to accept the fact that it is also okay.
I found a TEDx Talk on YouTube, given by Terri Trespicio titled “Stop Searching For Your Passion” and it put a few things into perspective for me. Some of my favorite take aways were
- You don’t create your life first and then live it, you create it BY living it, not agonizing about it.
- Be useful/ generous, people will thank you & hug you & pay you for it, and that’s where passion is. Where your energy and effort meets someone elses need. Passion lives in realizing what you have to contribute.
- To live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.
You can find the link here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MBaFL7sCb8
This didn’t eliminate my fears, but it provided a little comfort, and sometimes a little comfort goes a long way.