i’m beginning to see many statuses on facebook about graduation, and i can tell there is both the hidden message of an unbelievable ‘hurrah’ feeling and also the unpaved path that makes everyone’s minds swirl with the question, ‘what’s next?’
as having been graduated for 6 months now (exactly! holy shit), here’s what i’d like to tell you: you will not have anything figured out. for a while (unless you do, in which case i think you should tell me your tricks). but you know what? this is okay. it is okay to live life in blank pages. it is okay to not get that call back, or five. it is okay that your resume has more white space than it does words. and it is okay to return home. it is okay to be sad. you live your whole life up to this moment, and then bam, it just happens, this chapter closes but another chapter doesn’t open, at least..yet.
don’t let the social clock of society drive you into madness. it is okay to be indecisive, but also, don’t let your dreams dissolve. you must remember that when you take a step back, you also will need to take a step forward. life is a sort of chacha like that.
take time off, take care of yourself. let yourself breathe. don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t find a job. the real world is much different than the way society portrays the dream to us. but remember, don’t take too much time off. don’t be so lazy that your mind becomes a void. remain in touch with education, with what interests you, this way you can understand what motivates you, what inspires you.
don’t limit yourself to the careers relevant to your major. be open to starting over, be open to many opportunities, because there are a million. find out what you like, and start looking for places that offer that sort of environment for you. look up organizations that fit that niche, contact the supervisor. it doesn’t matter if there wasn’t a job posting. dropping an email doesn’t hurt – it is so simple in comparison to the number of cover letters you will write.
the process of applying is a process of understanding what you want. so what if people don’t contact you 10, or even worse, 15 cover letters later? the reality is: this will happen to you if you are targeting competitive jobs. it will. you will spend all this time in a day refining a cover letter specialized to that supervisor and the company’s goals only to not even receive a response. but that’s okay. my first cover letter was shit. so was my second one. ..and third. you get the point. i blindly wrote cover letters not knowing the difference between left and right, except a “hey! hire me! because, well, uh, you should?” interviews at different places are all structured differently. don’t be hard on yourself if you made it to the interview but was rejected the offer. and heck, who knows, you might even reject the job offer once you had a chance to reflect on it. some places are not for us the same way we don’t work for some places. maybe the job didn’t look as ideal in real life as it did in text. it happens. sometimes the thing about an interview isn’t to prove to someone they should hire you, but also for you to scope out the environment, the supervisor’s personality and goals, and see it this all matches yours.
don’t get so tied in the idea of having a job that you dismiss what you look for in a job. and you know what? that’s what i did. in my first job, i wanted to quit a month before i actually did, but i just stayed there. i found all the reasons to justify staying there, and one day, i just had to do it. i was bawling my eyes out and saying sorry and i realized that in that moment, i would be filing through many jobs in my lifetime. and that is also okay, to want to quit. if being at your job starts to feel like a death sentence (or maybe that is just me), something is seriously wrong. if you begin to have thoughts such as, “i’ll quit in 2 weeks when…” because abc-xyz, you need to just confront your boss and quit. don’t be like me and don’t be like so many other people who just stay at their job because of the fear of quitting and what happens after you quit. there are no consequences from leaving your job, just new opportunities waiting for you. you are not someone’s employee. you are not a contract. you are you.
and lastly, discover your voice….with life. with yourself. take up that hobby you’ve been meaning to since…freshman year of summer. take time to sleep, to lay in the sun. reread your favorite novel from adolescence. take time to even feel troubled, feel stressed, feel somewhat slightly depressed. this is all normal, this is all fine. but don’t stay there for too long. remember that just because you don’t find the perfect job that fits you, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a place in this world. find what you love since the stress of rushing to finish the last paragraph of an essay is no longer within the borders of your mind. work a minimum wage job if you need to. stay at home if you need to. cry a little if you need to. scream if you need to. we are all human. we are 21 and have barely lived a fourth of our lives and are asked to find our calling. but maybe life isn’t about finding our destiny. maybe life is about chasing destiny.
as the wonderful rilke has once said before: “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”