I am a 2013 Journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, am currently freelancing as a music writer and work as a social media contractor for a local jewelry artisan in the Portland area. A Pacific Northwest native who loves to explore the city for new music venues, markets and vintage shops and a good cup of coffee.
Another fall season quickly rolls around and I realize it’s officially been one year since graduation. The weight of stress only continues to build each day while I think I may just slap someone if I hear one more, “So any luck with jobs?” from just about anyone.
I cannot tell you how much I have learned about myself and changed in that one year in this time of life transition. There are no amount of articles, tips, or step-by-step instructions to prepare anyone for how to handle life post graduation. I can only offer a few key ingredients I find helpful to keep in mind in order to stay sane and happy, while also maintaining a realistic view through the grueling process of the job hunt.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Easily the truest cliché out there. It’s easy to get caught up in your own head and bring yourself down especially when you’re around others who are discussing all of their accomplishments while you’re trying to pick apart their every word to find any kind of flaw in their plan. When you distract yourself comparing yourself to others, you’re just wasting more of that time that could be used being productive in improving yourself. Bottom line, try your best to avoid underestimating and doubting yourself; everyones different.
You can’t afford to be picky choosy. A lot of opportunities will not be tailored to your liking. You will get a lot of rejection. But you must stay motivated. I noticed in the beginning, I would turn up my nose to opportunities that I thought did not fit into my goals or exactly what I studied in school and I would automatically write them off; although I still find myself being guilty of this, no ones perfect, and no one wants to settle. From what I’ve learned and continue to be reminded by is that every experience has something to offer.
Get out there and talk with anyone and everyone. Network. Try and get involved with an alumni group in your area via LinkedIn, Facebook or mutual colleagues you may know. This is the time to reconnect with close family friends, friends of friends and beyond to try and broaden your circle. You never know where or when you could come across a potential opportunity. I currently work as a part-time barista and have regular customer come through daily and it just takes an extra push of showing interest in their lives to unlock and build a relationship. Recently, I had a customer refer me to their current employer to get involved with some contract writing work which I would not have known about if I didn’t go beyond and connect with those around me.
Take a brief moment out of every day to relax; mentally, physically and emotionally. Go do something that makes you happy and unwind whether it be free-writing, a mind-numbing Pinterest binge, or simply just laying down for a few minutes to recollect yourself and your thoughts. You realistically will not solve all your life problems in that moment but you may find out and uncover a little more of what you want to strive to do better for the next day.
Truth is, no one has it together. We are all making mistakes and learning each day, but it is important to always put life into perspective. We all have different strengths and goals which puts us all on a different life timeline. You are never alone.