Fearing the Future

It is graduation day, and I see myself as having graduated with an amazing job offer I have already accepted, and a lot of money saved up to take that backpacking trip across Europe. I signed a lease for an extremely nice, upscale apartment right in the middle of downtown, and I have my next couple years of life mapped out perfectly. I have everything a normal, freshly graduated adult should have, right?

That is so wrong. As of 2015, the rate of unemployed graduates is 7.2%, and under-employed graduates is 14.9%. This means about 22.1% of college graduates are not able to find jobs they are qualified for. This also means we need to stop putting the pressure on ourselves so much! Not everyone will get their dream job so quickly.

Personally, the college I am getting my degree in provides so many career services and opportunities for careers after graduation, but they also stress that getting a job straight out of college is the only way to be successful in life. I have to disagree with this. The way to be successful in life is to be HAPPY, so why settle for some job I may not even be passionate about because society says it is necessary? Plenty of people have become extremely successful in career paths they were not planning on taking.

For example, my aunt graduated from a nursing school and began working with the elderly, assuming this would be her career for the rest of her life. She found out she actually disliked this, so she moved to pediatrics. All of her bosses continued to notice her impeccable leadership qualities- something she may not have even seen in herself – and they continued to shift her job positions while promoting her each time. From nurse, to administration, to rotational manager, she was continuously moved around because her leadership skills were so prevalent and were more powerful than her nursing skills- her original career intent. She is currently president of a children’s hospital in Cleveland and is thriving now more than ever at a job she is so passionate about. This goes to show, just because you plan a certain path for yourself in life does not mean it will always unfold in that way. You may have better, unexpected plans ahead of you!

All this being said, do I mean to say you should sit around and wait for a job you truly love to magically appear? Absolutely not! The best way to find your passion is to actively try new things and test the waters. Like my aunt, she continued to take on the challenge of switching in and out of jobs she knew very little about. It is okay to change jobs and career paths, even though we are often informed life is a lot harder when we do so.

As I am now approaching my final semester of college (hopefully), I can tell you I have absolutely no idea where I will be a year from now, but I realize that is okay! The beauty of being young is we have so much time in life to figure out what we want to do. This being said, there are so many ways to figure out your passions. I traveled abroad to Greece and learned I love to travel and learn new cultures, so I may want to work in public health somewhere abroad. Take an internship, join a club, or begin doing research at school, and you WILL find something you are passionate about! Once you do, keep working hard and pushing yourself to be successful.

If I can leave you with one message, it is this: Stop stressing so much about having your life planned out, because the odds are your circumstances and passions will change! Enjoy life while you are young, and stay motivated and passionate about your life.

-Lauren Thompson

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