comparing salaries

It's easy to get caught up in money as you try to figure out how much you should make based somehow on how much you're worth.

As I near the end of my senior year of college, I've been scrambling to find not only a job but an estimate of how much money I should make at my first post-grad job. For me, it's been a really scary uncharted territory of trying to make the right decisions for both my livelihood and happiness.

I'm that type of person who needs to know everything before it even happens. I need to know the details of what is going to entail and what I need to do to make sure everything runs smoothly. I've been working my butt off for the past four years in school and I even have four internships under my belt, in addition to side gigs trying to add as much as I can to my résumé, all in hopes of complete preparation.

But no matter how much I've tried to prepare, I'm left feeling lost and anxious. I've been feeling a constant state of confusion and I'm doing my best to learn all the options on the table before me.

I think about how much I would make at an entry-level position in writing or journalism and if you don't know already, it's not much. I never went into the field thinking I would make bank, mind you. I've done everything out of love and hope, not necessarily a money symbol.

Let me tell you, though, it's been really hard to not compare my potential salary to how much people I know around me may make.

Thinking of my friends making nearly double of what I would bring home is really disheartening and frustrating because I wish everyone saw the worth of my field. Even though I won't be a doctor or investment banker, it doesn't mean I am worthless. To see such a stark distance in incomes is stressful and made me question my worth and choices as a person.

The other day I was feeling really down while contemplating all my choices, past and present. I wondered if I made the right decision to follow my heart instead of my head, especially knowing the amount of student loan debt I will have hanging over my head once I graduate.

But then I realized, above all else, I want to be happy. I want my work to be enjoyable and feel like my creativity is being poured into something I deeply care about. Sure, I could have gone to be a businesswoman or banker, but that's not what I want to do with my life.

Money is fleeting, and I've never been the person who only saw the value of life-based on how much something is worth monetarily. I like picnics in the park, bike rides and nights in watching movies, all of which cost more in effort than bills. Don't get me wrong, I also love a nice dinner out (including dessert) but what makes those moments so special to me is because they're few and far between.

I have always spent my money wisely, and I always will. I've realized that there's no real need to make as much money as I felt like I needed for a couple days there. Whatever I make will be enough for.

I will make things work, just like I always have and will continue to do.

If you find yourself stressed about money, especially when comparing how much you make to how much a friend may make, just take a step back and realize that everyone has different needs. There's no use feeling down about yourself when in the long run, you will be just fine. If you're like me, you'll have pursued a career in a field you love, making every day feel like a blessing, not a curse.

Remember why you made the decisions you made and don't just live with them, learn to love them for better or for worse.

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