I’m back (taking a break from my break) with another guest blog! I asked a few of my friends a while back to contribute to my blog during my 31 Days of Blogging. It was an effort to throw in some variety to the voice that’s usually presented here. Aka, my own. Today’s Guest Blogger is an old friend, co-worker, and schoolmate. Sarah and I have known each other for…2.5 years now, I believe. We hail from the same hometown, Roanoke, VA. Sarah is the epitome of cool and one of the sweetest people you’ll meet. With just having graduated this past May from JMU, she already has a lot of insight and intellect to share. She was always giving me advice in school, so this doesn’t surprise me at all. I love her piece today about post-grad, and hope that anyone struggling with this will find it helpful!
You’re Doing Everything Wrong Post-Grad
by Sarah Gordon
Here goes my first blog for Chantalks that basically sums up to me giving the world one giant eye roll. This is something I have learned the past couple years and that has become abundantly clear for me this past summer: every single person on this planet is different.
Young Adults: Cue panic mode if you don’t have a salary based job at least a month before your graduate. If you don’t have life planned out for the next year, tough times are ahead!!! Wait… you don’t know where you’re living for the next 3 months?…*insert judgmental face here*
All of the statements above are things that if you don’t hear other people say to you, then you’re saying them to yourself and we need it to stop. We being the juniors, seniors, and graduates of the world. We need to stop thinking that if things don’t happen a certain way, then we are failures. That if we work as a barista for a year after college, we should hide our Facebook Job Status in shame. That when asked by your parents’ dinner party friends “What is your plan for the future?” you blush and respond with “I have things in the works” when really you’re working at a restaurant and watching Netflix for 5 hours a day.
Why are we so embarrassed by our lack of immediate post-grad success? Probably because everything in this world is telling us that we’re failures if we don’t have a steady job by the time we’re 23. I do understand that making money for yourself is important, however I learned something this summer: money matters much much less if you are not happy.
Not everyone is going to have my same view on this subject, and that is okay. But for those of you that are like me, have no fear, this blog is here to give you some hope.
I entered this summer so enthusiastically. I had an amazing internship that I had wanted for almost two years. I thought this ensured that my summer would be fantastic, however I took nothing else into account. I didn’t take into account that I would be living alone with my only friends being at least a 30-minute drive away. And I especially didn’t realize the toll being hours away from the people I loved most would take on my emotional health. Throughout the summer, the only thing I enjoyed was going to work. I dreaded coming home to an empty house and dreaded the stressors from living in a busy city.
When the time came to me deciding whether or not to stay in D.C. or find another option, I chose to move back to Harrisonburg. I doubted myself immensely, telling myself that I was taking the “easy way out”. My boyfriend is still going to school at JMU. Two of my best friends live in Harrisonburg and wanted me to live with them. And the ‘burg is only 2 hours away from my parents. So, I doubted my decision, even though I had job opportunities in Harrisonburg that aligned with my career aspirations. I started to doubt all of my decisions because of thoughts like “People are going to think I’m just moving back because I’m not mature enough to move on from college.” “It’s not a salary based job, most people wouldn’t move somewhere without more solid plans.”
And then I realized, why do I care about what other people would do or think of me. Yes, I want to move back to Harrisonburg because people I love and a job I would enjoy are there. Does that make me weak? No. Does that mean I’m taking the easy way out? No. Will it make me happier? Yes. Will I be working somewhere where I feel that my work is valued? Yes. Will I feel comforted? Yes.
So this past month that I have been back in Harrisonburg I have been reflective. I feel obliged to remind my friends and colleagues that if you do not have that salary, fiance, or apartment of your own yet that it’s ok. You should not be compared to others who have achieved a lot in a short amount of time. We are allowed to move at different speeds and have different experiences. If we all stopped focusing on who is doing the “best” in the real world and comparing ourselves to each other, maybe we can focus on our own mental health, our own personal goals, and our own happiness. I hope this was able to give some of my friends a little bit of verification that it is okay to be comfortable with simplicity.