I rarely hear people discussing the mental toll that happens post-grad. The path seems simple; graduate, get a job, start a family, etc. In reality, there’s so much that happens in those in-between stages, and your mind’s constantly on overdrive. I’m not even going to get into job hunting, because that’s a whole topic of its own *wipes sweat*. But, other than that, if you’re not wondering whether you’re good enough, you’re trying to analyze every decision you make to see whether it’s fit for your “career path.” I mean, WTF is a career path anyway?
So here’s a funny story. I had an interview a while ago, and the interviewers asked me where I anticipate my career path would go from this point forward. I had just graduated two weeks ago, and honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought. The way I see it, I considered myself lucky to know what interested me. I replied that I’m interested in several things, but I’m still unsure about my “path.” The interviewer was stunned at my answer, and I left there feeling incredibly insecure. That’s when the post-grad crisis started. It was the realization that wow, I need to
try get my sh*t together….and FAST.
For the past four years of my life, I was consumed with school in a way that was borderline unhealthy (Any SCAD alumni understands this!) For those of you who don’t know, I went to a creative arts school, and I ate, breathed and slept that life. It was intense because everything was subjective, this led to a constant comparison and feeling like nothing’s ever fully complete. It got so bad that I compromised my health and social life completely because I had no choice but to relentlessly overwork myself. Then, boom. After I walked across that stage, it just came to an abrupt halt, and all of a sudden every decision I make from then on is supposed to be crucial for the rest of my life? It was too much of a heavy jump! I touched on this topic a little bit during my last vlog if you haven’t caught up, but I just thought I would share a few life lessons that I’ve learned post-grad.
1. Drown out the noise of other peoples opinions.
Not to say that anyone else’s opinion is noise, per say, but during this period, it was important that I listened to my voice. I ended up getting advice from everyone I knew, which I’m grateful for because there was always something to take away. But at the end of it all, your path is unique to you. As an African, my pursuit as a creative is still looked down upon. Even today, I still get tonnes of concerns on how I’m going to be able to make a living. It’s interesting because I get this concern from a generation that finds it hard to understand that being a doctor is not a sure way to secure your future anymore. A generation that grew up without technology, or half the things that make our world what it is today. Always remember that no one knows your current situation, mindset or opportunities but you, so it’s crucial to drown out the noise and follow your heart and intuition.
2. Rejection is re-direction
Part of this transition is trying to figure out what’s next. Whether it’s trying to find a job, applying for grad school, pitching to clients and brands, or anything else. Rejection is part of it all and is always going to be a part of the process. It’s easy to doubt yourself and pinpoint where you could’ve gone wrong, but I choose to see rejection as a way that the universe is working with you, not against you.
3. Personal development is KEY.
I overlooked how crucial personal development is. If you don’t grow mentally as a person, how do you expect to flourish in other areas of your life? I’ve honestly never understood what that meant. I thought it was just taking some time for yourself here and there, but it’s a critical routine that should be a part of your life. I stumbled upon this book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Erold and it changed my life. Whether you’re a morning person or not, there are major gems in this book that will help you grow mentally. The book touches on gratitude, daily journaling, reaffirmation, the law of attraction, and so much more. I’ve practiced some of these, and it’s made a massive impact on the
4. Embrace the sh*tty days.
Shitty days, or should I say weeks? LOL. (It was hard ya’ll!) Either way, I had a tonne of bad days. Some easier than others, but the more I learned to embrace them the easier they got. I’m sure you guys have heard the quote, “it’s a bad day, not a bad life.” Whenever I get down, I learn to take it like a champ and say “look, this is just a feeling, and it won’t matter in the long run.” The bounce back is always what’s important.
5. Gain clarity asap.
That interview I had was a quick, but painful taste of reality. Every time I re-tell that story, I get the same answer every time: “Relax, you just graduated! You’re not supposed to know what you want to do.” While I agree with this to some extent, clarity never hurts. After that interview, I quickly narrowed down what I genuinely see myself wanting to do in the future. It was a whole project. During that process, with the help of Har Erolds book, I was able to list out all the activities I liked and job positions I would be interested in. (At least for the time being because anything can change!) The realization of this was a game changer; it helped me to sell myself easier and eventually led to lots of job interviews and offers. Gaining clarity never hurts, It may seem like you have time to get it, but the faster it happens, the better and easier it is for you to find something worthwhile.
I’d love to hear about some of the life lessons you’ve learned. If you have any thoughts, leave them in the comments below!
Spreading love and light,
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