You know, it can be difficult to think back on a time when things didn’t work out for you. It can bring back a lot of tough thoughts and feelings that made it hard to stay positive and keep a healthy mindset during those times. Cierra and Mike asked me to share my experience when I answered a question on their Instagram that it took me 2 ½ years after graduating to get a job in my field and how I kept a positive mindset during those times – it actually took me around 4 years to get a permanent position but…let me fill you in on the details.
I’ll start my story with the fact that I graduated University in 2015, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world and ready to make a difference!
I was nervous, excited, overwhelmed, exhilarated, and totally unsure of what my next steps would be.
A few months after graduating, I moved to a different province to be with my boyfriend while he finished school. As soon as I got there I applied for 15-20 jobs in my field (and many more after that), each getting further and further away for a commute. I didn’t hear back from any of them. Then I started applying for jobs not in my field, any job I could get because I was starting to need a job to be able to pay the bills. It was a struggle to even get an interview.
Finally, I did get something, it was a part time job at a retail store. Now, you can probably imagine the bitterness I felt because I had a heart full of it. I don’t feel embarrassed to say that I was really negative at the time, it felt like I complained a lot and friends were probably sick of me talking about my woes but it was then that a lot of my friends who graduated with me started to get jobs in the field. I felt left behind and embarrassed that I didn’t have any good news to tell. I was really hurt.
It’s times like these, where things aren’t going your way that you have to let yourself have grace. I had good days and bad days. I was also struggling with culture shock, being the furthest I’ve ever been from my family and friends ever and wondering how the heck I was going to start paying my students loans back. It was a lot of feelings to digest all at once. For anyone struggling that fight, you’re not alone.
I tried to be positive during this period and focus on other things that made me happy. Amid this very weird transition in my life I started my Paperdreamsblog account on Instagram! I couldn’t believe there was such a huge book community on Instagram and the beautiful photos, aesthetic and conversation pulled me in. This ended up being pretty huge for me. I started to read and review books from authors all over the world. I’ve always been an avid reader but this down time definitely let me embrace my love of reading and connecting to others who loved to read as well. It even started to fuel some story plots I had brewing in my brain (I did participate in NaNoWriMo in 2017 and wrote 50,000 words!
Resuming back to the job search, despite avidly searching and applying for jobs in my field, I eventually moved across the country to be back home because I couldn’t afford to live where I was and moved in with my parents. (And for those wondering, my boyfriend and I have stayed together, we’ve been long term for 12 years, because I’m someone who would wonder that 😉 )
Now, some might think moving back in with their parents is embarrassing and I’ll be honest, it was for a bit. But really, I get along with my parents very well. I chose to think of the time to reconnect with my parents as an adult as a gift because so many of us move on with our lives after leaving home, I enjoyed their company and nurturing our changing relationship. There was also a number of things going on in my life at home that I was really excited to be back for. The bitterness was still there that I wasn’t working where I should have been but I was extremely happy to be home and enjoyed all the time spent with my family and friends.
I did start a seasonal job working in a park and it was something I really, really enjoyed. I still occasionally thought about not having a job in my field and bitter thoughts arose from time to time but I started to think that I could have a different career. However, after 2 years of working at the park and loving it, I got an opportunity to work in an office associated with the park to do work related for what I went to school for. You can imagine how elated I was then! I was so thrilled. I thought to myself – it’s finally happening!! And it did folks, it still took some time from then, I worked a few term positions but eventually got a full time position nearly 2 years after that.
The in between parts of where you start and where you end with a goal are the hardest parts to get through. Things don’t and won’t always go your way and it’ll suck, it feels awful, you feel like you aren’t good enough and that no one is giving you a chance. I thought all of that and more during various times of those dark days. There were many days I thought I should give up on my degree and go back to school (I already had school loan debt so I didn’t really want to do that), or find a new career (which was starting to seem like more of an option). For the record, I’m really glad I didn’t, at least to finally have the chance to see if it will be worth it.
During the rough days I tried to keep myself busy. These are some of the other activities I occupied myself with to keep my mind healthy and nurture that positive mindset;
Started my blog/website and actively read and wrote reviews through my website and Instagram – Paperdreamsblog; Started jogging/running – signed up for a couple 5 km runs with my friend and successfully did a 10km run!; Joined a book club – reconnected with old highschool friends and made new friends!; Started writing – not consistently but enough to know that it’s definitely an interest; Made sure to visit friends and help them when they needed it (focusing on helping someone else is such a good way to clear the head!); Became more active with hiking and dragged along any friends I could/can!; Actively went to a yoga studio and have kept up with it at home!
Remember, don’t let the hard days win and try to retrain your brain to see that there is most likely a lot of good coming from the path you’ve found yourself on! I found a lot of redirection on the straight and narrow path I thought I was going to take – I stopped at too many pit stops, took detours, had multiple coffee breaks and Netflix binges, and whether or not I made it to this exact spot right now, I’m ready for any new redirection that life decides to lead me on.
Thanks for reading, Raquel, xo
Aspiring to be a better version of myself and sharing my love of reading wonderful stories!
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