Accepting What You Can't (Immediately) Change
“When I graduate, I’m going to become so stupid.”
Joking words I overheard between two coworkers who are both close to finishing school. Logically, I knew they were kidding around. Emotionally, I felt my insides die a tiny bit. I couldn’t stop myself from responding with, “Yeah, I’m just a huge idiot now.” Mood killer extraordinaire, that’s me. Their smiles faded as I walked away, probably thinking about what they feared becoming: me, graduated and educated, making no career moves. Not without trying, though; I’ve gotten very skilled at deleting emails that I already know say “we’ve decided to move forward with other candidates.” And I nod to myself and get back to whatever I was going before an email so rudely interrupted my day.
Every day since I’ve graduated, I’ve woken up with the nagging feeling of stagnation. Without school, it’s hard to get through the everyday when you have no real end goal anymore. School is easy in that sense; the end game is of course graduating and then utilizing what you just spent so much time and money attaining. When that end pans out, when even seeing the words “entry-level” or “five years’ experience required” start to haunt you, what is your end goal then?
Despite the deadest of dead end job searches, I can’t say I’m unhappy. There are moments at work when I’m internally screaming for still having the same job, mostly when I find myself having to keep a smile plastered on my face while cleaning up a spilled drink and graciously handing the bratty teenager who knocked it over another drink. Most of the time though, I’m alright with it for now. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is my now, my present, and it isn’t all that bad. Just because my now doesn’t also consist of a job where I do get to use my college education doesn’t mean it’s not where I’m supposed to be. I’m no longer in a consistent learning environment surrounded by my peers, but I haven’t just had my brain on autopilot since I graduated (only to get through Hulu commercials and when nosy strangers ask me what my tattoos mean). I’m naturally stubborn and can be notoriously averse to change, but it’s taken me some time to accept that change just isn’t coming right now. Until it does, I’m continuing to learn patience with my right now.
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]