"We're taught to believe we'll be happy when we finally 'make it,' but I'm learning more and more that the real joy is found in the making of it, in the brick-by-brick building of something beautiful"
Post College: an idea that the actual best days of your lives are over and you have to have it together. It's like the stir of senior year of high school days when everyone was conscious of their college choices and the "what's next" of the moment. If you were anything like me, you knew what your next path was even if you didn't know exactly know where it was going to be, college. My parents had made it known they expected some sort of college if not a four year degree. While I definitely had my college search, the stress of becoming a college graduate was a new stress I had never felt before, the complete unknown. In college I worked both as a graphic designer and photographer plus various resident life jobs. I knew I had artistic passions and liked people but as commencement creeped closer and closer I found myself more lost then ever. It also didn't help I had moved 16 hours away down south, am super close with my family and friends from home, and had gotten into a serious relationship with someone who also lived down south. I decided I would applied to everything and everywhere (states I could see myself interested in living in) and would be sure to have my dream job jump out at me. Spoiler, this was the farthest thing to happen.
In the year, I ended up moving home, moving to my dream city, moving back home again to find my current dream job. I had a total of five different jobs in this period, not including the different long term sub options I took. I believe each of them made me (somewhat) ready for the position I'm in now. In this last year these different professional opportunities have moments of success and failures. From becoming a member of corporate America to seeing how entrepreneurs roll, I learned to walk away from opportunities that no longer serve you. I've learned not every job is the "dream job", but who cares. Own what you're doing in this moment and rock whatever it is. If you are a stock girl in the back of a retail store pushing shipment, be the best stock girl you can be. I learned things that were never even mentioned in the classroom in college. I've worked colleagues who are not only resources for me professionally but are friends for life. I've worked with colleagues people who brought some nights filled with tears and frustration, but also brought irreplaceable people skills. I've learned you're only as strong as your higher ups, and if they're falling short step up and lead for them. Most importantly I've had moments of magic with students have inspired me in my own creative pursuits, reminding me why this was my passion in the first place.
It took me a year to find a job that I actually feel I can prosper in all realms of my life. A year of nights filled with bitching phone calls filled with tears and frustration for an opportunity to be full of success and *drumroll* excitement. (What a concept) For some people it's a shorter time frame. For some it's longer, however long, this time of in betweens and uncertainty is for a reason. This is a time of discovery, the real moments when you become an adult because adults had to learn first hand to become "adults". A good art teacher friend of mine said it best, "This may not be something I do forever but I am thankful for it now". It's okay to not know what's next. You don't have to have it together like post college says, or even be trying to at the moment. Give yourself some time, some grace, and whole lot of patience, because that "what's next" is never ending and it's a beautiful ride.