Approximately one year ago, I graduated from college. Although I did not participate in the commencement ceremony, I was done with my college requirements and tossed into the adult world of searching for that “all-important” job, adjusting to the “grown-up” life, and handling financials in the form of repaying those dreaded student loans.
Here I am now, scrolling through endless posts about graduation. Graduates are posting about their happiness for finally being done school. Two posts down my news feed, the same person is posting about their sadness for being abducted from their college social life and all the “unforgettable late nights” they’ll be craving in a few weeks. Oh honey, if only I can tell you what else is going to change in the next few weeks….the next few months…the next year. Welcome to the real world that everyone has warned you about for the past 22 years of your life.
Being a college graduate is far from easy – at least my experiences this past year can vouch for that. We think that when we graduate we need to find that one job that encompasses all that we’ve been educated for. I can honestly tell you that unless you are the luckiest person in the entire world and all the stars have aligned in your favor, you aren’t immediately going to find that one job that fits you just right. Honestly, it’s probably going to take you a lot longer than you think to find a job that you enjoy in every aspect.
In the past year since graduation, I’ve had 3 different jobs. I’m on my 4th now actually. The first two jobs had nothing to do with my college education but I worked them because I needed a source of income. Even though my third job had potential to be related to my college degree, my mental health was struggling. I was in an environment that thrived on people with my college education, but a position wasn’t available for me to actually use my schooling. Instead, I was sitting at a receptionist desk staring at a computer screen and saying hello/goodbye to everyone that walked by my desk. I was put in situations in which I felt paranoid for my safety. Through all of this and more, I resigned.
Here I am, on my fourth job since graduation. I’m self-employed now and I help out with my family business. I am a health coach seeking more and more clients to work with (I currently have a consistent four). I am an aspiring occupational therapist who will be applying to graduate school this upcoming fall. I am craving knowledge. I am craving a better career path for myself. I am craving opportunities to work hands-on with individuals who aspire for continued independence. I am a limit-tester and goal-seeker.
Post-college life is by no means easy. Yes, you don’t have to take exams on a weekly basis. Sure, you most likely don’t have papers to write. Of course you don’t have to sit in 90 minute lecture halls trying not to doze off. But there’s going to be more challenges ahead of you. These such moments might make you question your confidence. These moments might knock you down and hold you down. There will be other moments though that lift you up and make you feel invincible.
There will be speed bumps. There will be walls you have to break through. There will be hard choices to make. There will be decisions that you will ponder for days only to feel like you should’ve been given a map after graduation just to understand the road called “life”. Although it may seem that each decision you make seems to be getting harder and harder, each decision you make can be changed by making another decision. The rest of your life will be decision after decision after decision.
Never limit yourself. Never value your worth based on the recognition you do not receive. Never sacrifice your mental health for other people’s ignorances. Never give up your daily happiness because of a job that you force yourself to get up for day in and day out. Never stop limiting your future. The world we live in today is full of potential. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Work hard for what you want most in life and trust that everything will work out somehow, someway.
There is no clear cut definition for success. My success will be different than your success but I assure you that success will come to you. Success might come to you at a time that you least expect it to. Success will always be something to strive for. Congratulations class of 2017….remember to value your happiness, never settle for less than what you deserve, and always always ALWAYS strive for what you want the most in your life; life is too short to be unhappy, do what you like and like what you do.