Even though I graduated just 4 months ago, I feel obligated to write a preachy, blog post about life after college because I just finished reading a buzzfeed article about confessions from other unemployed college graduates and some of the thoughts these people expressed were concerning. So here’s my list of 7 things I want to say to the rest of the unemployed, plan-less class of 2015!
1) Graduating without a job is actually pretty sweet.
I graduated in December without a job offer or a plan so when January rolled around I felt like a bum. I was anxious to find work. To my surprise, it was in the times when I wasn’t searching for work or writing cover letters that I found something unexpected: myself. I discovered my passion and developed it while I learned more about the industry I hope to enter. So while my resume is blank from January – May 2015, my soul is satisfied and my knowledge, improved. If you’re like me and you’re ending school with no job offers or internships, take the time to work for/on yourself, becoming better at what you love, developing your passions and trying something new. This is one of the last times in your life when you’ll have a “summer vacation” to do this so take advantage, but use the time wisely! (NOTE: I must also thank my parents for the encouragement and support they’ve given me to make this possible!)
2) Don’t compare yourself to your peers.
We live in an age where people like to share the details of their lives on the Internet. I can’t scroll along my Newsfeed or Timeline without seeing a mass of posts about job/internship offers and grad school acceptances. While I didn’t apply to graduate school, all three paths remind me that everyone has left/is leaving college with a plan–everyone except for me. I play the comparison game too often and thanks to that buzzfeed article, I now know I’m not the only one. It has taken time and prayer for me to remember that everyone will start, end and go through different places in life. Meaning there’s no reason to feel inadequate just because other people have plans lined up now and you don’t. Your time will come, just be patient. And on the note of time…
3) Just because you aren’t graduating with a job/internship/grad school acceptance doesn’t mean you’ll never have one.
I know I’m stating the obvious, but bear with me; when panic rises even it can be forgotten. You may not have one of these things today, but the future is this sort of mystical, unknown realm that stems from your actions in the present. If you sit around moping about your lack of plans, then you can bet that your tomorrow will be even more dismal than today, but if you follow my first tip, then you can shape your future into something you couldn’t have made it into if you were working.
4) Don’t beat yourself up over what you did and didn’t do over the past four years.
Every decision, good or bad has brought you to this very point in time. It has shaped you into someone that has great potential. It’s useless to sit around saying “If only I did this or that while in school.” That time of your life is over so do yourself the favor of looking forward and only using those mistakes as lessons for tomorrow.
5) Don’t ever let fear stop you from chasing your dreams.
I think some people spend a lot of time second guessing their decisions because they’re afraid of failure and rejection. I’ve spent the past four months working on scripts for these elite workshops and as the deadlines near, fear and doubt are creeping inside of me. Fear is a normal human emotion, but one that should be expunged. If you allow it to stop you from doing something you love or from doing something you might be bad at then you’re selling yourself short. Shoot for impossible; hold nothing back and believe that great things can happen.
6) If/When you do shoot for your dreams and they fail, or if/when you apply for a job/internship/grad school and you’re rejected let the tears fall as they give birth to the next step you are to take.
I hate rejections and I am very sensitive so whenever one comes I turn into a blubbering baby. I hate myself for it, but I’ve learned to accept it. There’s… “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” Ecclesiastes 3:4. In other words, it’s okay to cry and to be sad, but it’s not okay to let that sadness overcome you. Sit with it for a while, soak it up even, but accept it. Accept that that rejection you just faced is pointing you towards the path that God has intended for you and move on.
7) Life after college won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be.
Many of you will likely do the same thing I did upon graduating: you’ll return to your parent’s home with a mass of student loan debt that you’ll be paying off for the next 30 years. Doesn’t sound glamorous, yet I fully believe that you aren’t able to appreciate the full depth of something great unless you have had to wait for it. So while you may have to wait for that loan balance to fall to $0; to afford to live on your own; for that job/internship offer; for that grad school acceptance, take heart. The longer you wait for something good to happen the sweeter it is.
So my fellow unemployed college graduates do not fret because of your current situation. Your time to work will come soon enough and when it does come, let’s be honest, it’ll be tiring, stressful, sometimes even demeaning work that comes with a remarkably low salary. Yet, this is what we, unemployed college graduates yearn for. Why shouldn’t we? The idea of a new stage in life is exciting– I for one can’t wait until I get into the working world. Not because it’ll be easy or fun (though, I am seeking work in an enjoyable industry…), but because it’s a part of life and it’s a chance to make a difference in the lives of others– be it coworkers, customers or dare I say the world?