Ah the day is finally here, graduation. You have waited all four years ( or maybe more) for this. All that hard work of writing essays, pulling all nighters, eating the crummy dining hall food, and grappling over if you failed that test or not are over. You have made it through it all congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment and something that you should be very proud of. You have grown, learned a lot and matured in ways that that you never thought were possible.
For me, there was something looming over my head. The fact that I had not yet secured a job after graduation made me stressed and unsure of what the future held. Seeing other friends who had jobs lined up or internships in place made me feel like I had honestly failed. It weighed on my mind the day after graduation and then the next couple days, which led into the next few months.
Through the process of being unemployed, I found a new part of myself and realized it was okay to be jobless after college.
Here I will share the top three things I learned to step back and reaccess the situation to make for a happy, healthy and fulfilling period that can be scary!
1. It is not you, it is them
After perfecting my cover letters to match the job description, critiquing my resume to make sure it aligned with the skills needed, and crafting the most organized LinkedIn there was to be ever seen ( I even paid money to have someone edit it for me). I was still getting no's to jobs I was sure I could succeed at. I wondered, "I am doing everything right and checking all the boxes to stay competitive but nothing is working, what am I doing wrong?" After hearing a lot of no's, I started to feel defeated and thought something was wrong with me. Then I had an awakening you could call it, and realized that I was smart, determined, hard working and all of those wonderful qualities that I shined up so perfectly on my resume. I changed my mindset and thought after I got a no, "well it is their loss and I know I can bring my talents to the table to another lucky company. I decided to not let a rejection define me and made the effort to mentally say that everything happened for a reason. If I did not hear back after an interview, I learned to not take it personally and that I was grateful for the interview experience. Do not let the job descriptions define you, you are more than a bunch of skills and qualifications. It just takes the right company to see that.
2. Everyone is moving at their own pace
I think everyone is trying to set a timeline for their life and it is part of being human. Once we have the structure, we feel it will give us peace and secure us. For many things timelines can be great, but when it came to the job hunt for me, the timeline destroyed me. I originally planned my timeline to be where I had a job secured by the month after graduation. Man was I in for a rude awakening! The problem with my timeline was that I was comparing it to my friends who had jobs secured and had gone different paths. But that was the key, they had different paths. In life, we all are on our own path trying to figure it out and we all move at different rates. I was not giving myself the grace I deserved especially after working so hard for four years. I realized that my path was moving at a different rate and it was all going to be okay. I would get a job, the time frame of it happening did not mean I was talentless or not worthy, it just meant that my plan was different to prepare me for the long run!
3. Take breaks and do not let it consume you
My daily routine would be wake up, apply to jobs, eat, sleep, maybe workout and then apply to jobs. This was horrible and I wish I had known how to prioritize all of this earlier on! I will tell you now, it even got so bad that in the time I was sleeping I thought I had to apply for jobs. One time I woke up at 5am and all I did was apply for jobs until the sun came up because I could not sleep. I would give myself an hour or two then call it day. I would go workout, hit the sauna or take a nice walk outside. I started to read a lot more to calm myself and became more self aware through journaling. An audio book that I listened to that helped keep me calm and allowed me to prioritize healthy patterns was Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons. Another book that I thoroughly enjoyed was a book called You Matter: Learning to Love Who You Really Are by Matthew Emerzian which reminded me that I had purpose and grounded me.I watched several health documentaries and paid more attention to the foods I was eating. Being able to cut myself some slack and stay busy with healthy activities made each day better.