Note to Self: It is Okay to Graduate Without a Job
Picture this: A Senior in college is about to graduate and is freaking out because she doesn’t have a job, nor does she have her life figured out yet. So she has a little mental breakdown and decides her life is over. That was me. I was constantly biting my nails, upset with my life and felt so lost and confused. I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t “normal” or at least I didn’t feel normal.
For the longest time I didn’t have an answer to the dreaded question, “What are you doing after graduation?” I would maybe have an idea of what I wanted to do, but I had no 5 year plan. Even though I work Freelance for an amazing company, I began applying for jobs I didn’t even want and tried to find other ways to make money. I had friends and family members trying to help me but they just didn’t understand. I wasn’t ready for the whole process, I still had some maturing and learning to do. Their help only made me feel worse about myself and I just felt like a failure. I spent 4 years working hard for a degree and had nothing to show for it. What I forgot was, good things take time.
During my 4 years of college, my dad would say “it’s about the experience,” but I think he meant living was about the experience. Life is about what you make of it and the opportunities you take on the road to success. Sure a part me of me still thinks I am screwing myself over for taking the chance to travel, but then I remind myself how much I am actually gaining through traveling. I know that sounds so cliché and millennial but there is something about traveling that is so thrilling and educational.
You learn a lot about who you are, how to connect with new people, how to budget money (otherwise you will be broke) and you see parts of the world outside the small bubble on campus. You become responsible for yourself and your belongings, and have to apply problem solving skills to almost every situation. In my opinion, traveling clears your mind. You can think things through clearly and find yourself. I have been lucky enough to travel to many places and each time I learn something different about myself, make new friends and receive a new outlook on life.
It has taken me some time to realize, but it doesn’t matter what other people think about you or what your doing with your life. What matters is what you think about yourself. I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I took a position just because it was a job. Don’t get me wrong, I want to work in an office one day and maybe freelance on the side. I worked hard to get my degree and I am proud of it, but there comes a time when you need to become okay with where your life is at and not beat yourself up over it. You will get to where you want to be, it just takes a little time and effort.
It is okay to graduate college without a job or a plan. I am not saying go waste away on your parents couch watching Netflix, get up and do something with your life that is worth sharing. I am sure you have heard this before but you have your entire life to work. If you have the chance to travel, do it. If you are given the opportunity to play on a professional sports team abroad, take the chance. If you decide to drive across the country, go! Take a job waitressing or a nannying position to make some money to pay back some student loans. You aren’t going to regret it.
So don’t freak out because you don’t have a job right after graduation or your life all figured out. Take a little time, evaluate what you want to do with yourself and then give it your all. Be passionate about whatever you do and your efforts will not go unnoticed. Not everyone finds their niche right away. As long as you are happy, you will know you are where you are suppose to be. The job of your dreams may be weeks, months, years away. Don’t rush it, everything will be okay. Keep in mind you are not alone in this and that it is normal, you will do great things.