8 Things You Need To Hear After Graduation

1. You don’t have to know right now

I’m serious! It feels like the entire world is dying to know what’s next for you! “What jobs do you have lined up?” “What grad schools did you apply to?” “What are your plans?” Ugh! It can be so nerve-racking! They want something that you can’t give them right now. I want you to know that you don’t HAVE to have all of the answers! They don’t. They may have an idea but the truth is, no one knows what God has planned. Yet we spend so much time trying to live in the future that we can’t even be proud of today. Relax! It’s okay not to know. We’re all stumbling around trying to figure it out.

2. Rejection is a redirection

So, you’ve applied for quite a few positions that you thought you really wanted? Maybe you applied to a few back ups just in case your initial plan fell through. However, it didn’t make much of a difference because they all said “No.” Ouch! You know you’re more than qualified! Maybe you were an honor student. Maybe you’ve accumulated an excessive amount of internship hours. Maybe you’ve got connections in every zip code. For God’s sake, the job posting only called for a high school diploma to begin with! So why did you receive that “Thanks for applying but we regret to inform you…” email? I’ll tell you: Yes, your degree has value. Yes, networking can be quite useful. Yes, having field experience is a plus! It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough or that you didn’t do enough. It doesn’t mean that you chose the wrong major. Here’s what I found out the hard way: Sometimes it’s not about what you know or who you know; it’s about what God has for you. The worst thing that God can do is give you what you desperately think you want. The rejections could be pouring in right now, but pick yourself up, brush yourself off and know that it’s all apart of a bigger plan. Be patient.

3. Don’t force it

Don’t try to talk yourself into something that you aren’t passionate about. I know it’s scary not knowing what’s next and I’ve heard the saying “If the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door” but you don’t have to take any and every opportunity presented to you either. Be picky with where you invest your time and energy. I know that it can be hard to stay true to yourself but don’t jump into something just to say you’re doing something. It may sound like a no brainer to start a grad program in the fall to hold off on making payments on your student loans. I mean at least you’ll be working towards something, right? But, you know what you’ll find at the end of that graduate program? The same situation that you put off. You’ll still have to face some rejection. You still have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. You may still feel lost. I’m not trying to change your mind about furthering your education. You can never be overeducated (or overdressed.) However, I am telling you to make sure that your decision isn’t just a last resort. The same goes for jobs that will be presented to you. Every time I got rejected, I would find another position that had nothing to do with my interests or the position I had previously applied for and go through this process of trying to convince myself that this one was “the one.” I talked a little about this struggle here.  I applied to be a claims adjuster, software trainer, cellphone retail sales specialist, bank teller, management trainee… and the list goes on. What did all of these jobs have in common? Nothing. I just wanted something to show for my degree. I thought that something was better than nothing. I was absolutely, positively WRONG. If you’ve found an open door, I’m not trying to convince you to turn it down. I’m just telling you to consider what you want and what they have to offer you. Consider who you are and use Glass Door to see what others have to say about the company culture. Consider the position and whether there is room for growth. Otherwise, consider yourself a sell out because if you take just any door, the longer you stay, the harder it will be to walk through it.

4. You’re right on time

The absolute worst thing that you can do in this moment is compare yourself to others. When you hear about the luck your friends are having, the places they are moving to, and how they seem to be finding themselves, be happy for them.  Everyone is on a different schedule. It doesn’t matter if it took you 4 years or 7, if you graduated with a 2.5 or 4.0 or if you have 10 job offers or none. You’re doing just fine, kid. Just like a seed being planted, you can’t always see the progress, but the product will be beautiful. You’ll never be late to the party because you can’t rush greatness.

5. Money isn’t everything

If you have to choose between your passion and more money, please choose what you love. Your bank account can be full and your spirit be empty and it will show in the work you do. Don’t burn yourself out for a buck. Trust me, I get it! You’re a poor graduate with a stack of student loans and bills that have to get paid. But, life is also about more than just surviving. If you can’t do something that makes you happy now, just make sure you find time to do the things that make you feel alive.

6. They’re still proud of you

When you are at your lowest, remember all of those smiling faces that cheered you on as you graced the stage with your presence. They love you and want the best for you. But sometimes, you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to keep everyone else happy. They have expectations that you’re afraid you won’t be able to meet. Maybe they have expectations you have no interest in meeting at all. And if you don’t, it can feel like you’re failing them. You’re not. You’ve already committed to something huge and saw it through! It’s time to live for you. There may come a time when you realize that what they want for you isn’t what you want for yourself. In those moments, you’ll have to be your own advocate and it probably won’t be an easy thing to do! Maybe you want to be an artist but they want you to be an engineer. Maybe you want to be a social worker but they’ve always pushed for you to be a politician. Maybe you want to write…. I say do it. Don’t let other people project their lives and dreams onto you. Be brave, be bold, be honest with yourself but, above all else, be ready for the criticism and doubt that is to come because nothing you want badly will come easy. You will have to fight for those dreams. And don’t worry, even if it’s not what they want for you, they’ll continue to be proud of you (even if it’s in secret) because they’ll know, deep down, that they taught you to stand up for what you believe in. The time is now. You are responsible for the life you want. Go after it.

 7. This isn’t the end

This is where the plot gets interesting! You are standing on the edge of  adulthood and the possibilities are endless. You have the freedom to be whatever and whoever you want to be. You have the right to leap, run, walk or crawl but whatever you do… don’t stop! You’ve got work to do, a life to live and for the first time ever, you call the shots!

8. Don’t forget to breathe

You only graduate from undergrad once! This chapter came with a whirlwind of emotions. You’re in disbelief that you made it, sad about leaving your friends, excited about your next adventure, afraid of what’s to come… But just for one moment, do yourself a favor and BREATHE. Take a day off to take it all in. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” – Matthew 6:34. This moment belongs to you and only you. You earned it.

So, once you walk across that stage, know that the work has just begun and that you are walking onto a battlefield for those dreams of yours. If you put them off, they will let you. If you slow up, they will let you. If you give up, they will let you. No one is more accountable than you. You are responsible for your own happiness, your own potential, your own life. Congratulations! You deserve the world! But first, you have to believe that you can conquer it! 

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Questions For The Zodiac Signs

A few days ago, I came across a series of personal questions that were supposed to reflect the internal conflicts of each of the 12 zodiac signs. A few twitter users  commented with responses like “thought provoking”, “triggering or “spot on” in regards to how much it resonated with them. After reading the questions tailored for the Gemini zodiac sign, their responses made perfect sense. Whoever created the questions really did some research on the temperament and patterns of each sign. While I could never answer from any perspective but my own, I  decided to take a jab at the questions that applied to my sign:

Questions for Gemini:

Will you ever learn to appreciate the people around you and realize all that they do for you?

This one is tough for me because I don’t think I have this issue but then again, wouldn’t that be evidence that I have the problem in the first place? Still, here’s why I feel it doesn’t apply:

I don’t forget anything you do for me. In fact, I obsess over it. I take note of it and store it. This is not to keep count. It is because I am prone to feeling like I owe someone for every kind gesture. For example: showing up to to an event, holding a door, picking up the tab on a meal, sending a card on my birthday, listening to me vent, walking my dog etc. speaks volumes to me. I think it has a lot to do with what I consider love and how I love others. I scored highest on “Acts of Service” (and “Words  of Affirmation”) when I took the 5 love languages test. Because of how much value I personally place on this, I truly feel obligated to return the smallest favor. Typically, it is equal to what the person did for me. For example, if you paid for my meal, I’ll pay for yours. If you show up for a huge milestone of mine, it is mandatory that I show up for yours. I feel terrible if I don’t. Now this is not to say that I ONLY do things for people who do them for me because again, this is how I show others that I love them too. More so, I feel the need to constantly reciprocate where as someone else may just take it at face value and just say thank you for the gesture.

Do you care that you hurt people’s feelings when you leave them in the dust?

Okay, before you judge this response, please know that I am aware that some of my relational patterns are unhealthy. Trust me, I’m my biggest critic!

I can’t speak for every Gemini, but I, for one, am EXTREMELY sensitive. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I care about people’s feelings, I promise. But, for the sake of transparency, I have to admit that I am guilty of “leaving people in the dust” and I stand behind the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” Please hear me out: I would never want to intentionally hurt anyone! But there have been instances where I chose my feelings over someone else’s.

The first instance is if I am legitimately hurt by something that someone said or did. I mean seriously hurt to the point of no return. Yes, remembering what you do for me can be a positive thing. However, the con is I don’t forget what you do TO ME either . It plays over and over in my head. Being as sensitive as I am, my normal response is to cut ties. It’s not healthy but it’s the truth. I learned recently that I can’t blame others and be blessed so I have to work on that for ME.

The second instance is much more common than the first. It involves my patterns in romantic relationships. Often times, I begin to feel suffocated, weighed down, smothered early on and my normal response is to run *inserts track girl emoji*. I try to warn them of this pattern but in every single case, it doesn’t matter what I say. I’m sure an ex or a “potential” from once upon a time can attest to the fact that it is very hard to keep me interested. I’m here to today and bored tomorrow. From there, the conversation dies out, the response time takes longer, my enthusiasm fades and I withdraw… They can feel it. So, I tell them what I knew to be inevitable. Sometimes, they accept it.Cool. Sometimes, they don’t and try to force it. Sadly, my response is to jet *inserts jimmy neutron gif*. I don’t know why I’m this way. I beat myself up about it. I think i’m afraid to settle for a lukewarm kind of love. But that’s a post for another day. Anyway, the question was do I care that I hurt them when I leave?

Most definitely! That’s why I try to warn them that the only thing that I’m consistent about is being inconsistent! So to my almost lovers, who never made it past the door, I’m sorry. But, you can’t say that I didn’t tell you.

When will you tell someone how you are actually feeling without covering it up with humor?

Did you check out my bio introduction of myself where I said I majored in Communication and minored in…SARCASM? It’s second nature. Its just the way I communicate. On more serious matters, I know it would be more helpful to just say what I feel but I guess part of it is this insecurity that the person will just downplay my feelings or won’t understand where I’m coming from. I’ve gotten that a lot. So, I can admit that I’m guilty of passive aggressive behaviors. The question was when will I tell someone? I do. Too bad its after a series of things have built up over time (also, not very good). This goes back to keeping score in my head!

Do you know that there are people out there who will love everything about you, even the bad things?

I’ve heard about those beautiful people and I am afraid of them. This question is triggering for me. Because I’m sure they exist, but my biggest fear is that I will wreck them. I know, I know. They’ll love me anyway. But I don’t want them to come near me until I love myself. I mean overall, I love me but there are things I would change of course. After all, loving yourself isn’t a one time thing that you just wake up and decide and then its settled. At least, I don’t think it is. No, no, no. I think you have to wake up everyday, face yourself and find that love all over again for every part of you. I think it is a constant and ongoing process and that some days will be harder than others. So yes, I know there are people who will love all of me but I think first, I have to focus on a steady love for myself.

Why do you run away from your problems?

I said in my prompt of the week that I have a habit of viewing exit signs as a safe havens. Whew. That’s a word. Sometimes, I run physically. I cope by taking a break from my world and the people in it. I live about 15 minutes from the beach so its where I go to clear my head. I don’t take anybody or tell anybody. I just go. And when I leave, I feel better even if it is only for a little while. Sometimes, I run on a much larger scale. If a situation feels permanent, you can bet that I am actively looking for a way out of it. If I’m unhappy in a job, relationship, friendship, living situation, class, career…I have this habit of thinking that there is a better substitute. I just don’t have it in me to stay in dysfunction. Chaos really takes a toll on me. So, I check out. It’s really just a defense mechanism and going back to my fear of being stuck. So that’s why I run. Its rare when I am ever truly satisfied. Check out my prompt response! I said that I needed a renewed mindset so that I could learn to be content with whatever I have and where I am.

So, this week I gave you layers. I gave you vulnerability and transparency. You are welcome to do the same. You can even reply anonymously if you’re shy!  Answer any or all of the questions that apply to your zodiac sign! The questions are posted below.

Keep evolving,

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