After about four major mental breakdowns and one intense as hell existential crisis, I decided to change all of my post-grad plans a month before graduation. And you know what? I'm actually a lot calmer than I've been this entire semester.
Saying that I have been focusing a lot of time and energy into my career path is an understatement. It was getting kinda unhealthy. The plan was to get a job in publishing before I graduated. After graduation, I'd move to New York and edit my little brains out. If you have any knowledge about the publishing industry, you are fully aware of how naive this concept is.
I love editing. I love writing. I love language. Literature is my everything. So being in publishing is my ideal. But, to go to New York City with barely any money and almost zero contacts in such a competitive field is as unrealistic as it gets. Don't get me wrong, I have experience. I have worked at two different publishing companies, interned at a pretty prestigious literary festival and met some notable authors, and currently writing for four different publications. I thought that'd be sufficient. Ha. Silly child.
It's almost impossible to land an interview with the "Big Five" unless you have years of experience working full-time in the industry, have flawless networking abilities, and actually live in New York City. I grew up in Winter Park, Florida. Only people I know who take literature seriously are my professors and some of the other students in my major.
I ignored the harsh realities, and instead, drove myself slightly insane. I have been obsessively checking LinkedIn, updating it more than any other social media platforms. I was making connections like a champ, for sure, but I'd catch myself at 2 in the morning on the app, scrolling through job listings. My resume and cover letters took priority over human contact. I had probably one or two anxiety attacks a day when the harsh realities started to slowly sink in. I was setting time restraints on myself for no reason.
Seniors, I know it doesn't seem like it, but we have time.
I thought I needed to have a job lined up before graduating like everyone else and it was turning me into a full-blown workaholic, mess. Not everyone's career path is the same. Some need more time to prepare and that's okay. I was placing harsh, unrealistic expectations on myself and it wasn't necessary. I realized all of this in a span of three days. Kinda wild, I know, but that was necessary.
Every graduating senior needs to have a come to Jesus moment. We place these unreachable standards on ourselves and it drives us absolutely batshit. Speaking as someone who is a planner, I threw the plan away. I'm taking a gap year. Working at an office job to get real-life experience and perfecting my application for a publishing workshop next summer. Even getting my MFA in Creative Writing is a possibility. The choices are endless. Don't stop your future because you feel like you need to start your career fresh out of college. Take time, and figure out what's best for you. You'll feel a hell of a lot better.