7 Tips for Unemployed, Plan-less College Graduates

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!

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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?

That One Time…

Last year in February I went on a retreat with my church that spoke to me about fear. What I never really reflected on was the prophetic word I received after I was prayed for. The woman that spoke the word to me said she felt God was telling her to tell me that I have to stop saying that things are too good to be true (she didn’t know, but this is absolutely something I always do) and that I have to believe that there are certain passions and desires in me because God put them there and I have to trust that He can open and shut any door laid before me. It is that one time that I reflect on fondly as I continue on my present path.


When I graduated from college in December I had a finite idea of what my next step would be. Unlike most college seniors, I didn’t spend my time networking, applying for jobs and going on interviews. I spent my last few weeks desperately trying to put together one final short film project; petitioning administrative staff to allow me to drop a class I didn’t need to graduate; trying to not fail said class when I wasn’t allowed to drop it; and picking up as many extra shifts at my job to milk the benefits of employment as long as I could. Work, future, and the “real world” were the last things on my mind.

When January arrived I was officially a member of the “real world” and I still had no idea what I wanted to do next in life. I’ve always had my abstract goal to make films that effect people in a way that surpasses the natural– a way that gets them to think more earnestly about life, death and the decisions they make everyday. How exactly I would do that has always been a mystery to me. I’ve always loved writing stories and screenwriting has always been a passion of mine. However, I believe the bar for writers should be set very high; they should be well read and have a mastery of words and grammar and I didn’t quite meet these standards. So calling myself a writer always seemed quite daunting. Plus, I’ve always known that writing does not pay the bills because the chances of selling a script are few and far between. So for a good amount of time I strayed away from the path of a writer; I did everything I could while in college to learn about the production side of film.

In spite of my dismal outlook on screenwriting, my love for it still pushed me to take two more screenwriting courses in my last semester at school (screenwriting 2 & writing episode drama)– the latter was a last minute decision that I only got into thanks to COM’s efficient use of Twitter. I took these classes while being the cinematographer in another production course. All of these courses deepened my passion for filmmaking as a whole. They provided me with the skills and experience that made me finally realize what I want to do when I graduate– become a cinematographer!

I sought as much as advice as I could about the steps one should take to become a cinematographer. I did this while commencing my hunt for employment.  In spite of the many places I applied to I received only one call back/interview for an unpaid internship that I didn’t get. Nonetheless, my quest for work and a deeper understanding of cinematography made perfect sense and I didn’t want to give up on either one until after two things happened.

Thing 1: while getting advice about being a cinematographer from a woman I used to intern for she made a good point that I had long since forgotten: She mentioned to me that she assumed I had always wanted to be a storyteller because I like writing. However, she did remind me that I’ll always be the writer and I basically will then just need a day job. Rationally, that made perfect sense, but something in me felt like writing shouldn’t just be what I do on the side– at least not during that time period.

Thing 2 (The MOST random thing): I had just finished watching a new episode of Arrow and the social media addict in me wanted to see what people were saying about the episode on Twitter. Somehow, I stumbled upon the Twitter account of one of the writers for the show. I read the person’s bio and saw that they were a graduate of the Warner Brothers Writer’s Workshop. I recalled my professor for writing episode drama, mentioning the workshops and the fact that she did one of them; though, I’m ashamed to admit that when she mentioned them I never thought twice about them. Now, for some reason I was very intrigued by them. I researched as much information on them as I could. I found out that there are a number of them out there, many of which had deadlines in May and 8 spots for the thousands of eager writers that would apply. I found such odds to be both terrifying and exhilarating. So I made the boldest and quite possibly stupidest decision of my life: I decided I was going to be one of those thousands of applicants and I would do so by foregoing my job search to write two solid scripts to enter while reading more, writing more and watching more TV (prior to this my favorite TV show was Pretty Little Liars and I was only following two other TV shows in other words my television knowledge was wanting).

So while I embarked on this journey of being a writer, I continued to look for part time work at film studios. Yet, as I looked at each job description I realized working in any sort of film company would seriously hinder the time I have to write and I didn’t want to just settle for writing on the side. It hit me that this is quite possibly the one time in my life when I can write without worrying about bills or other responsibilities since I’m still living at home with that lovely loan grace period. So I temporarily shut the door on finding film/tv work of any kind.

But the greed in me wouldn’t subside that easily. I wanted a job– any job. I hated not making money so I started to search for part and full time jobs close to home that wouldn’t be as demanding as film work. I kid you not… I did not receive even ONE response from a business and I was applying for jobs that HS students could do. I understand that the job market is pretty bad, but something in me felt that that wasn’t why I wasn’t getting work. It seemed in my gut like it was happening because this wasn’t a season where God wanted me to work. It felt like this was a season where I was to augment my comprehension of TV and improve my writing. I became more comfortable with this season as the days went by, but that comfort rarely lasted.

Every time I heard that someone I knew accepted a job or got into grad school, doubt, jealousy and fear crept inside of me. I really couldn’t tell if I was delusional or if I was actually doing what God wanted me to do. I took a risk, hoping it was the latter and decided I would not look for work until I finished both scripts for the workshops. It’s funny, the more I began to work on the scripts and study TV shows, the more I realized that this is absolutely like a full time job. Not only that, but it is the BEST job because the more I did it the more I realized how intense my passion for it was. I am so captivated by television shows now and even more enraptured by writing televisions scripts that I now know that THIS is what I long to do for a living. If you flashback to an old blog of mine prior to graduation I did not have a dream job.

My scripts are still under construction and April is more than halfway over, meaning that those deadlines, along with the end of my student loan grace period are coming soon. Today I started to go into panic mode again as I began to fear for my future. I wanted to just apply to every single job and do everything to find one NOW. But I don’t like to do things out of panic because I know that that panic is always the product of me relying on myself, my plans and my merits while ignoring the God that loves me. I prayed to The Lord to direct me and to speak to me. Before I connected with God I was washing dishes and in the process, the song “God of the Impossible” by Everfound came into my head. When I finally had my time with The Lord I made sure to listen to it and I am glad I did.

Here I am, Lord send me | I won’t look back cause I was made | To be a part of the impossible | You’re God of the impossible | Here I am, Lord send me | I won’t back down cause I believe | You are the God of the impossible | You’re God of the impossible | Here I am, send me!

This song’s lyrics overwhelmed me with emotions as the question formed in my head “Do I believe God is The God of the impossible?” That answer absolutely was a YES!!!! So my decision stood; I was and am going to hold off on looking for work until after I have, the best possible, most engaging, marketable drafts of my scripts. No, this decisions doesn’t come with the reassurance that I’ll be one of the eight people in a writer’s workshop nor does it stand with the promise that I’ll find a job immediately when I start searching again. I believe in my heart that it comes with the guarantee that God will be faithful to me because I’ve relinquished control of my life to Him and that that means that He will lead me to an impossible place that I would’ve never foreseen. In all honesty, He has already done that during these past four months; He has birthed in me a hunger to read, an improvement in my writing skills, a forgiveness for those who have hurt me, an independent spirit, a more humble spirit and a trust in Him that I haven’t had in years. These past few months have exceeded my expectations of what I would learn upon graduating from college and I thank God for that because I know this was a part of His plan for my life. So regardless of the rejections that are in store for me when I begin my job hunt once more, I will joyously praise Him because I know He’s the God of the impossible and every door that closes or opens before me is one that is bringing me to where He wants me to be.