As college students count down the days until graduation, we near the end of the trek to the stage and, simultaneously, prepare for another leg of the journey. Some of us are scared of what happens after the walk across the stage while others welcome change with open arms. I think it is safe to say all of us are just happy to be graduating. I personally identify more with the “welcome change with open arms” mentality. I look forward to the unknown, the lessons to be learned and the growth to be experienced. I didn’t reach this calm state on my own, though. It took the disappointment of being denied the job that I had hoped and planned for in order for me to see that in due time, the right door will open.
When I was younger, I used to plan my outfits down to the accessories a week in advance. I didn’t do this because I had to, but because I just liked to think ahead and plan everything. Although the extremity had subsided, I carried my planning nature through high school and on to college.
It was in college when I learned to loosen the metaphorical reigns I held on my life and take things a little bit easier. I think back to my carefree freshman year. I had no car and no job. All I had to do was go to class and do my work. Life was good. Freshman year was by far my most fun year in college and also my least planned year.
Sophomore year was when things started to heat up. I was fully introduced to college life; I had a car at this point and a job. Life was a little more difficult. First semester of junior year, I embarked on a study abroad semester in England. Although preparing for the trip took a great deal of planning, I completely let loose and allowed myself to have the full abroad experience relatively plan free. Now, in my senior year, I had fallen back into my old ways.
I started looking for jobs during the summer before the fall semester begun. Thanks to social media, I discovered one company that I completely fell in love with. This company seemed like a fun place to work, is in my target location and had positions available in my field. I digitally stalked this company for months by studying their website and learning more about what they do. I wanted to be ahead of the game, one of the graduates who actually had a job at the time of commencement.
In February I finally applied. Two days later, my rejection letter came via email. Needless to say I was crushed, but as a result of this low moment, I was able to again let go of the reigns and wait for another door.
In the weeks following my disappointment, some opportunities have come my way and I am now faced with the task to decide which path I will take. Do I have a career job lined up immediately post-grad? No, and that’s okay. I do, however, have a job lined up, and it is one that will provide me with the means to launch and move on wherever life takes me.
It’s once I let go of my personal bounds that allowed me to move forward and blossom. In speaking with colleagues, I’ve heard similar stories of seniors fearing failure or feeling pressured to find a job. A wise woman once told me, “If you are too afraid to fall, you will never walk.” It’s a simple phrase that holds so much power.
So, to all graduating seniors, let go. If you haven’t found your professional place in the work force yet, just continue to work hard. In due time, your door will open. It might not be what you expected or wanted, as is true in my case, but I am a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason,” so one day, I’m sure we will all catch our break. Think of the soon to come moments crossing the stage as a pit stop in a road trip called Life. Once back on the road, the voyage continues. Happy traveling!