By Melissa Thompson
It’s nearly been 2 years since I graduated (where has the time gone), and since then I feel like I’ve been on an absolute rollercoaster – you know those ones with the dips and swirls and occasional upside-down loops (not pretty).
Though it’s been a journey, I can’t help but sit and smile at how it all turned out. On reflection, I think about how I felt on this day 2 years ago. It was the Summer of 2018, I had outgrown my waitressing job, was hungry for more, and had just agreed to work full-time for my dad’s company until I found something else. I was applying for job after job, some related to my field of study and some completely unrelated as I wasn’t set on what I wanted to do yet. I went to countless interviews and each time I would have that same anxiety fuelled evening before it, going over my answers in my head, worrying about whether I was good enough or not. It got to the point where I thought that I really wasn’t going to find anything, which just filled me with anger at the fact I had just dedicated 3 years of my life to studying for something I may not ever use (or so I thought).
As grateful as I was to my dad for letting me work full-time for him to build up my CV, it wasn’t an area I was passionate about, and my whole life felt empty. I loved learning and wasn’t a fan of this stagnant, slow adult life that followed my busy, progressive, social student life. But I wasn’t ready to give up. How could I? I had worked so hard to finish my degree after nearly taking a year out due to mental ill-health.
I am a very passionate yogi and read self-help books on my lunch break to reassure myself that my happiness was my priority and that things will get better. I can’t tell you how many times I repeated “what will be will be” in my head and had to muster up the strength to ignore the anxiety-fuelled thoughts until I finally secured a new role – my first proper full-time job!
Have a little faith
I have to sit and smile because just 2 years later here I am, working in my field of study that I am so passionate about, securing an exciting new role, and coming away from work every day feeling like I am genuinely building my career that has a bright future. I am so far from the person I was 2 years ago (full-time work does funny things to people) and I couldn’t be happier. I am more resilient, and I have the confidence to prioritise my happiness and not listen to what other people think.
Having that open mindset and ‘it is what it is’ attitude really helped me to move out of the dark cloud of post-grad blues, rework the expectations I had put on myself and really just enjoy moving through life, taking things day by day. It also allowed me to control how I reacted to rejection, using it to motivate me to be and do better instead of letting it get me down. I read a quote in my favourite self-help book that I still have stuck on the bottom of my computer screen from Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass, which reads ‘The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information’, and I genuinely believe this is true – every interview, rejection and hurdle you face is just building you up to be a better, more experienced employee which can bring value to a company. My graduate journey hasn’t at all worked out how I thought it would, but I know that the final year version of me wasn’t even capable of believing I could be where I am today!
I have also shared my graduate job hunt journey, along with some tips and tricks I learned along the way, over on my Instagram and blog @thebluegraduate, so please check it out!