I want to speak on a topic near and dear to my heart – post graduate blues. Because of the realities faced by all that believe a college degree is going to save their lives it’s only right to keep it real. Like I mentioned in previous post, I grew up in the times of if you go to school, get good grades – the minute you graduate that great job will be waiting for you. The reality was that in the four years I spent focusing on good grades, joining honor societies, working prestigious internships and networking; I felt like I was losing momentum in the grand scheme of things. Friends who had chosen to take a year off were settling into great jobs and getting paid as much a year as I was paying to go to a private university.
I could not wrap my head around what working so hard could mean if the reward meant the struggle I would endure financially and emotionally after the glory of graduation dwindled into a new school year and I was still on the hunt with my student loan servicer breathing down my neck for their first payment as the 6 month grace period was coming to a close. Anxiety set in.
I was in a new state, my husband had just come back from a deployment. We got our first place together, had zero furniture, one car, each other and the struggle. However, one thing I did not lose was the ambition to be where I knew I deserved to be.
I finally landed a job in a great law firm downtown; pay, $14.00/hr. All I could think was wtf? I kept wondering how I could accept something like this – I went to college to make more, do more and for my level of education to be taken in high regard because lets face it:
- It costs a ton of money – that I needed to afford to payback
- I worked so damn hard for it
I worked at this firm for a year – not my happiest position, but when offered the job, I saw it as an opportunity to get my foot in the door. Experience a nice adult portion of what life after college was like (for nearly half of the pay) and network with people that ultimately would help me get to where I wanted to be. Yet, it took me two more years, an openly racist firm partner, changes in the world, current events and being so miserable chasing after what I thought was success based off of what I was groomed to believe, to guide me to the brink of reevaluating what it was I wanted in my life.
What was I passionate about? What would I love doing that would make me happy day in and day out? Were both of my degrees a waste? The only question that had a very direct answer was the last one for a very long time. I realized very quickly that nothing I put so much time, energy and money into could ever be a waste. College laced me with fundamentals – meeting deadlines, working hard on little to no sleep, being broke and ultimately making me humble. It taught me to communicate, how to navigate and the school portion gave me a sane balance of what I was used to the 12 years that came before it all.
I have a great job now – and while my passion is writing and reaching as many people as I can with real life experience, my nine to five job allows me to fulfill another passion of mine through helping families everyday. So many opportunities will present themselves to you and I learned the hard way that everything that glitters is not gold. If it is not aligned with your life’s purpose, I can promise you, that it will fight you back. I urge the Misguided College Graduate – take your free time serious and learn what makes you happy – how is what you’re studying going to feed that fire inside of you? Do not settle.
To SJU Class of 2013 and BU Graduate Class of 2016 – I see you!