It’s quickly coming up on the one-year mark since I finished my final semester of university and finished my undergraduate degree (!!!). By far, this has been the weirdest, most confusing, and yet oddly amazing year of my life. I’ve experienced some incredible career lows, some highs, and all in all, I landed in a place that I certainly wasn’t expecting. As I mentioned in my “Where I’m at With My Writing ‘Career’” post, I’m definitely taking everything one day at a time as I sort through exactly what I’d like to do career-wise. There is immense pressure to find a job and settle into a career as a university graduate, but if, like me, that hasn’t happened yet, it can be easy to fall into a downward spiral of regret and general bewilderment. Well, I say no more! I learned so much over the past year, which is why, job or no job, I’m sharing what I did to rock my first year of graduate life.
Apply For Jobs You Might Not Want
I can’t tell you how many jobs I applied for in the past year: marketing jobs, content writing jobs, content management jobs, social media positions, the whole she-bang! It wasn’t necessarily that I wanted the job, or that I felt that I was qualified for it, but I wanted the practice. I think it’s important to see what you’re contacted for and to get a feel for the kinds of positions out there and whether or not they’re a good fit. All in all, it gave me a great sense of the parts of my resume that I need to bulk up, and what employers were really looking for. I approached applying for jobs as an exercise, rather than a chore, and it really helped take the pressure off so that it wasn’t the end of the world if nothing came of it. Although pretty tedious work, it was definitely worthwhile.
Something that I really struggled with in the past year was remembering why I wanted to be a writer in the first place. I went through five years of schooling and emerged on the other side completely overwhelmed with this unrelenting need to find the perfect job, rather than taking a step back and really thinking about what it was about writing that I most enjoyed. It can be so difficult to give yourself a break and reconnect with what you love to do. I’ll admit, I wasn’t always great at making time for personal projects like poetry and fiction, but when I did, I felt motivated all over again. Whether you’re a writer like me, or you have some other vocation, giving yourself time to focus on the craft rather than the career/money/ladder climbing side of things will definitely help you ease the transition out of school and help you focus on what’s important: your passions.
Make Space for Yourself
Starting this blog was a huge step in the right direction for me; by creating a platform to write about the things that I like to write about, and curating an online space that’s representative of me and the things I like, I feel like I’m doing something. When you’re applying for jobs it can feel like you’re waiting for other people (ie. employers) to make room for you, or give you the space to do what it is you want to do and to be honest, I just got sick of waiting! I wanted to carve out space for myself, and I am really glad that I did. Not only has it been a great way to keep me practicing my craft, but it’s a free space where I get to dictate the kind of content I put out there. It’s really kept me sane through the months of uncertainty. If you feel out of practice, or like you’re waiting around, I really urge you to make space for yourself and your passions! Whether it’s a blog, a podcast, or something completely different, you got this.
No Matter What, Remain Calm
It’s been almost a year since I graduated from university and I still haven’t found a job, and that’s ok. It’s not a race, and you don’t have to have it all figured out the moment you toss your cap in the air (to clarify, I didn’t actually get to do this, but my Legally Blonde graduation scene dreams still live on). There’s so much pressure on students—especially those in liberal arts like *ahem* myself—to graduate and find a job right away or have our education deemed irrelevant and a colossal waste of money. I just don’t see it that way, and frankly, I’m not going to be shamed for following my passion! Not to mention that the amount of jobs available for liberal arts students is grossly underestimated by most people; although I focused on freelancing throughout the last year, I was almost overwhelmed by the number of different jobs looking for an English or liberal arts degree. No matter what you went to school for you will find something, and you’ll figure out what you really want to do; it might take months or years of trial and error, and some a few revisions to your cover letter, but you’ll get there. We’re in this together!