Last Spring 2013, I was a senior at San Diego State University, eager to graduate. In addition, I was wrapping up plans for an early June wedding, preparing to move out of my parents’ house for the first time, and looking to transfer departments at work. I had a lot on my plate, but thought that once I finished school I would move on to bigger and better things and finally start living the life I had always dreamed of.
Somewhere in my early college years I had begun to establish the road map of my life, so to speak. I had planned on graduating college, getting married, and becoming a mom. I had never been exactly passionate about academics and viewed graduating from college as something I had to do to get out of the way. As a result of my apathy towards school, I didn’t take my education half as seriously as I should have. I studied what I thought would make my parents proud, and then pursued a minor in a field I thought to be relatively easy. Looking back now, I realize how little of a foundation I set up for myself, just in case something was to change.
Graduation came and went, my wedding day (such a happy day!) also passed, but as the summer ended I found myself thinking, now what? I had switched departments at work, but quickly realized that it wasn’t a place for me to grow, nor a place I wanted to be. I was looking at my degree and wondering what in the world I could use it for. I had a thirst to pursue a career, but I wasn’t even sure where to begin looking. Soon enough I was feeling panicky, puzzling over what exactly I was going to make of my life. I had planned everything out, but it was not at all going how I thought it would. I went through a phase where I struggled. Big time.
Eventually, I had to take a step back and look at where I was. I evaluated my field of study and honestly reflected on my skill set in regards to related professional employment opportunities. I also took a step back and took a look at what I personally enjoyed doing. Academia and college degrees aside, I thought about what fulfilled me, what I was good at, what hobbies I really enjoyed partaking in.
After some reflection, I did a little positive self talk and said, “Hey, you’re not where you thought you would be. That’s okay. But based off what you know now, where do you go from here?” I began building up my resume and asking about internships as well as various job opportunities. I looked into fields of work that I hadn’t exactly studied while at SDSU, but knew I was passionate about. I had spent many years depending on the security of my planned out future, but I knew that it was time now to let that go and start taking risks.
It’s been quite a journey living as a postgraduate. I still haven’t found the right fit for me career wise, but I know it will come in good time. One major lesson I learned through graduating was perseverance. Just like I pushed through and survived all those years of schooling, I know that I can persevere and succeed at finding what it is I’m being called to do. To all of you who are in need of some encouragement, I say stay strong and to have resilience in the face of adversity. Maya Angelou once said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”