It's Hard To Be Mediocre When Everyone Else Is Thriving
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It's Hard Not To Feel Like A Failure When Everyone's Thriving Around You

If I hear the words "resume-building experience" one more time, I may cry.

It's Hard Not To Feel Like A Failure When Everyone's Thriving Around You
Maya Parella

I love being an Odyssey Editor-In-Chief. I love the leadership experience, the community of people I get to work with and, most of all, the opportunity to help others on their own writing journey. It's no secret that writing is a passion of mine, and I take this obligation seriously.

Here's the reality, though: as honored and proud as I am to be in this role, being an editor-in-chief is not a Monday-through-Friday nine-to-five job. I'm not slaving away on my feet all day. My back doesn't ache and my eyes aren't burning with exhaustion at the end of the day. In fact, I can do my job sitting on my bed in pajamas at two in the morning if I really wanted.

What I'm trying to say is that at 19, this is the first job I've ever had and most people wouldn't even consider it a "real" job. At best, they consider it a really good internship. I love what I'm doing and take pride in myself for getting to where I am, but deep down, this is just one backhanded reminder that I haven't gotten anywhere in life. Emotionally, spiritually, mentally—yes. I've grown and changed throughout the years and become a better version of myself over and over again. I'm not worried about that right now. I'm talking about the dreaded resume-building experience we're all racing to get.

I have a friend who scored a job as a teacher's assistant during his freshman year of college. Another friend of mine has been working in research labs since high school. I know people who have won scholarship after scholarship or even a full-ride to a four-year private school. Most people I know have years of entry-level work under their belt or worked full-time for the last few summers. As for me, I've done none of this, and I feel like a failure.

I remember writing my first cover letter — a whole whopping three weeks ago. I forgot to put a header in. I created my first resume only last summer. I never had an internship in my future career field. I never worked in high school. In the race to check off all the resume boxes—experience, research, internships, volunteer work—I feel like I'm coming dead last.

Oh, I missed my chance.

I'm never going to get a job without proper experience.

I'm not competitive enough, and I never will be.

See, I've been stuck in an endless loop where I criticize myself for not doing enough but am too scared of putting myself out there. I know in my heart that it's the fear of rejection that's holding me back, the fear that I'll realize I'm mediocre at best. My email is bombarded with invitations to career fairs, upcoming resume workshops, and need-to-know networking tips. I'm aware more than ever of my internet presence now that I've entered the age of job-hunting.

In this onslaught of anxiety-filled reminders, I often feel small. I wish I could say I had some newfound wisdom to share with the world but I'm just as clueless as everyone else. The only saving grace I have is the spiritual and emotional strength I've developed through the years. As lost as I feel in the professional world, I am thriving in my own personal life, at least, and I'm surrounded by loving, supportive people on all sides.

Maybe I am I'm 19-years-old, and just getting my driver's license. Maybe I am 19-years-old and just landing my first job, creating my first resume, writing my first cover letter—a whole slew of late-bloomer examples. Maybe I am a little slower to the party than everybody else, and I let my anxiety get me down, but who doesn't? The important thing is that I'm aware of it; now I just have to learn the rules of the game. With the help of leadership experience through the Odyssey, I'm hoping I'm on to something bigger in life soon.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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