Life at a Standstill

I’m at a standstill already.

I go to work at my part-time retail job. I come home. I sleep. I rinse and repeat.

My days off are spent comfortably on my couch staring at my computer screen.

Searching through countless job listings, rewriting my cover letter, giving up and staring at Reddit for the remainder of the day.

In fact, I stopped looking entirely.

It’s all about who you know in this world, and unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with these connections.

On occasion I see a friend and have a fun few hours.

But.

I don’t see a way out. August will come, and I won’t be packing my bags to join my friends at the little bubble we call college.

It feels like a summer vacation, wasting away my days in the air conditioning.

Yet, that’s the problem.

I’m wasting away my days.

I’m fine with my part-time retail job for this summer. It is allowing me to enjoy my last ‘free’ summer.

Well it should be, if I would take advantage of it.

But

This begs the question:

How long after graduation am I still considered just a ‘recent grad’ as opposed to a ‘failure’ for being career-less?

How much longer do I have to find a job before I’m looked down upon for having a degree, living at home, and only working a part-time retail job?

How much longer until I can escape this pause, and press the play button to resume my life?

I don’t want to sell out.

I just want to find a career, and  be happy with the one I find.

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What Job Searching is Actually Like

Step 1. Make resume.

Skills? Uh…I sort of knew HTML back in middle school when I had a MySpace… I’ll put that on there, make myself really stand out. Any employer would feel lucky to hire me!

Oh..But what if they actually want me to use HTML at my job? All I remember is how to bold the B in BaBiiGuRl…

What you’re left with:

“Skills: Microsoft Word.”

Step 2. Reading through job descriptions

They want 3-5 years minimum marketing experience? I worked at a Hallmark store during my winter break one year. I had to market like, cards and stuff….I got this!

‘Looking for a finance/business recent graduate’….Hmm…I was a Communications major but I have a bank account…Sounds good.

‘High school degree or GED equivalent required, college degree unnecessary’… So glad I went thousands of dollars into debt…PICK ME

 

Step 3. Finding your objective

Objective…objective…

Objective: To be employed.

…is that good enough?

Or should I put: “Objective: I have no specific objective because I don’t actually know what your business is about nor if I am qualified for the position. In fact, I don’t actually even want this job at all but I figured I’d give it a shot.  Pick me”

Step 4: Writing the cover letter

“Dear business,

I have a great personality. And I want to move out of my parent’s house sooner rather than later.

Pick me,

Your’s truly”

Step 5:  Sending in the resume, cover letter, and application.

*Click*

That e-mail confirmation came rather quickly…Alright. Now I just have to wait for the interview. I got this!

How exhilarating.

Look at me go, taking the initiative, applying to real-person jobs! I love the real world.

Step 6: Waiting.

Monday…Tuesday..Wednesday….two weeks later…

Step 7: Trying to find the phone number and/or contact person and/or e-mail address in order to follow up and find out when interviews are being conducted 

Where do they hide this information? I feel like I’m searching through a Where’s Waldo book.

Step 8: Realizing you didn’t get accepted or rejected. You just got ignored. 

I hate the real world.

The Annoying Co-Worker

When working in retail, we all have had to deal with that one annoying co-worker. You know who I’m talking about. As soon as you read the word ‘annoying’, their face came to mind. Your annoying co-worker will exhibit most, if not all, of the following behaviors:

  • He/she will act super busy and important whenever your supervisor is around, but as soon as it is just you and them, the true laziness begins to show. You: “Hey, I’m really busy trying to ring up, wrap, and bag this customer’s items,  can you take the next one?” Annoying co-worker: “OHHH nooo, nooo, nooo. I don’t want to make them walk a whole foot over to my register! You can take them when you’re finished.”
  • He/she will have some sort of terrible body odor and/or a flatulence problem.  If they don’t have either of these, then they will definitely eat only onion sandwiches on their breaks and come back reeking.
  • He/she will tell you the same stories about their trip to London or Fiji or Sesame Place over and over and over again. Even when you stop responding, he/she will steep keep blabbering. They are like the energizer bunny. Except a lot less cute, and a lot less well-liked.
  • He/she will stand behind you watching as you count your change, help a customer, vacuum the store, eat, breathe, and possibly even sleep.  Every time you turn around, there he/she is…just hovering…watching your every move. Even after you’ve told them plenty of times that their mere existence makes you uncomfortable, there they still remain.
  • He/she will laugh at their own jokes, none of which are actually funny. Sometimes you will laugh along at the sheer pitifulness of the joke. Also, he/she will have a very disturbing, dry-sounding, been-smoking-for-50-years laugh.
  • He/she will be condescending, especially if he/she had, in fact, been working there longer than you. He/she will pretend you don’t know how to do your job even after he/she made you take care of all of the customers as he/she just stood there hovering.
  • He/she will be exceedingly slow, probably on purpose, in order to transfer the entire line to your register’s side.
  • Whenever a customer asks a question, he/she will stand there silently staring blankly into the customer’s eyes until you come up to assist, even though he/she clearly knows the answer.
  • He/she will spend the entire shift either drawing weird anime onto receipt paper, or making personal telephone calls on the company’s phone. Whenever you pass by, you hear them throw in the company’s name in the conversation to make it act like it’s a business call, but you know it’s not. Not unless the business is wondering what time he/she will be home for dinner.

 

If no one came to mind as you were reading these, maybe you should take a hard look at yourself…

You may just be the annoying co-worker.

 

College Graduation: The Saddest of All the Milestones

College graduation is the saddest of all the milestones.

Well, okay. It’s really exciting. I mean here I am, thrust into the so-called ‘real world’, ready to make money, live on my own, travel, learn new responsibilities, find a husband (lol just kidding on the husband-part) and be an ‘adult’. And will I soon move out of my parents’ house, find a salary job, and go create my own life? Let’s hope so… But that’s a post for another time.

Today I want to focus on graduation (mostly because I’ve refused to focus on the dirty g-word all semester).

As the day of doom approached, I felt cool, calm, and collected. I was frequenting the bar, spending time and money with friends, and all around enjoying the last of my college days.

What sucked though…is that I didn’t (and arguably still don’t) realize that my college days were soon to be over. Sure I knew in the back of my head. Why else would I go out on a Tuesday night or try to explore the entire city where my college was located in the last few weeks that I’ve neglected to explore in the entire four years in which I lived there?

Subconsciously I was freaking out.

I was spending money I barely had (my bad bank account). I wasn’t sleeping well for literally weeks on end (zombie status). I was eating my feelings  (just in time for bikini-season). I was trying to reconnect with people that I barely knew (and will definitely never see again).

I was sucking in all that is the “college-experience”.

And as the day got closer, I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t nervous, and I wasn’t anxious. I was secure in the fact that I was graduating and ready to move on. I needed a new space, a new time, a new face. I was sick of the same people, the same town, the same classes. I wanted to make money, find my passion, grow. I was ready.

And then the weekend came.

The candlelight baccalaureate service on our college’s front lawn was beautiful. That’s when it first started to hit me. Tears silently filled my eyes as I struggled not to scream, sob, freak out. As soon as the seniors in various a cappella groups from campus began to sing the Irish Blessing “May The Road Rise Up To Meet You“, I lost it. Not only was this indicative of my college career ending and beginning a new chapter of my life, but OF COURSE the country I happened to study abroad in was Ireland.

Like, really? It HAD to be that song? 

Memories flooded my brain. Images of the friends, mistakes, blessings, anger, happiness, parties, and education I had at college slid across my mind like a slideshow.

Fast forward to later that night, in the local bar that I happen to love with a few of my best friends, enjoying the last beer we’d have there for awhile. We chatted a bit about graduation and how weird it was, but it felt like an ordinary night at that bar. Not the eve of our college graduation…

I don’t think I slept for more than 3 hours that night. I woke up late, as per usual, took a fast shower, attempted to apply make-up and put on my best fake smile.

This was it. This was the day that I had been working towards not only for the past four years of my life, but for the past 22. I was graduating college. 

Black circles under my eyes from many sleepless nights were only appropriate for my graduation day, as they were the symbol of my college life; whether I lost sleep due to staying up late finishing a paper and studying, or partying well into the early hours of the morning.

The ceremony was a blur. I try to remember, but only 3 weeks later and I hardly can. All I remember is that gut-wrenching feeling, and yet at the same time the avoidance of the fact that this could be the last time I sat in that school’s gym.

On graduation day, I barely saw any of my close friends from college. After the ceremony, I had a nice brunch with my family, packed up out of my college house, and began the hour drive home alone.

Um, thank God it was only an hour. The SECOND I fastened my seat belt, the tears came. And I am not talking some silent-cry like I’ve quietly done in my adult-life whenever I’ve come across a bad situation. I’m talking a SOB. A loud, painful-sounding, gasping-for-air sob.

That sob lasted the entire way home.  This is when it hit me. The last four years went by so fast. Freshman year felt like yesterday. I have met some of the best, crazy, smart, interesting people in the world. I had new experiences, new places, and new situations under my belt. And now it was all over. 

I remember feeling like I was going through a break-up, like Muhlenberg College dumped me and kicked me to the curb. I felt heart-broken.

And before this depressing-self-rant goes too far, I will leave you with this advice:

1. Don’t work at a card/gift store directly post graduation. It will only depress you to see people shopping for high school grad gifts, and make you think “UGH THEY’RE SO LUCKY, THEY STILL HAVE ALL OF COLLEGE.”

2. If you have to work at a card/gift store post graduation, go read through all of the inspirational sayings on cards and gifts…You might just come across this:

“You can’t move on to the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”

3. The next chapter can (and probably will) be better than the last. College was great; it gave you perspective, experiences, and friends. You don’t have to let these things go, in fact, take these with you as you move on to the next chapter.

I truly believe, when given the chance, the ‘real-world’ can be just as fun and rewarding as the college experience was.

And I’m excited to find out just how great it can be!

(But really, this is how I feel about graduating)

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Why I Chose My ‘Useless’ Major

In college I chose to double major in Media & Communication and Religion Studies. While I get enough crap about being a ‘comm’ major, and ‘having an easy work load’, ‘not having to try as hard’, or ‘taking the easy way out’ (none of which are true), my Religion Studies major tends to raise more eyebrows.

If you happen to study anthropology, philosophy, history, sociology, or basically anything in the humanities or social sciences, I am sure you have dealt with a similar issue I have: people asking why.

Why would you study that? What can you even do with that? Why didn’t you pick a more practical major? 

Recently I even had a friend from high school say, and I quote, “You trolled yourself. You were one of the smartest people in high school and you graduated a troll” because of the major(s) I chose.

Granted, being a jobless recent graduate, I took this criticism very personally. He was right- I didn’t choose a ‘practical major with a set career path’.

But why does that make my major useless? Does getting a high paying job immediately after college mean everything these days? Is that what shows my worth in life? Isn’t there anything else?

So why did I choose my useless major with an ambiguous future?

Because I like learning.

At my part-time job the other day a man asked what I studied in college, and after I told him, for possibly the first time ever, I did not get “…why?” but rather “So you’re an intellectual?”

Nothing felt as good as that compliment.

What majors such as philosophy and religion studies give to a person may not be a set path to a career, but they are not ‘useless’ majors that warrant a ‘why would you study that’?

Religion Studies may not give me specific technical skills to place on my resume, but it opens my mind, it allows me to think, to analyze, to compare, to understand.

 

Religion studies allowed me to think deeply about the historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological, and psychological aspects of religious people, cultures, places, beliefs, beginnings, teachings, rituals, and understandings. I did not study religion to become a pastor or a rabbi; I studied it to gain a deeper, more well-rounded understanding of the world and how both explicit and implicit religious meanings has affected its history.

My major has forced me to think, read, and write critically. It has forced me to see things I would otherwise have looked past. It has forced me to learn. What more could I ask for out of an education? I mean, I have skills for my resume-I’m not skill-less, but I also have a mind, and an ability to think.

Further, set paths scare me. This world, my future is open. I can create and follow any path I choose. So if you were a finance major who wants to be a businessman and knows exactly what you need to do to become one- good for you! We need people like you in the world. But I never wanted a set path. I always wanted choice and opportunity. Therefore my majors were perfect for a person such as myself.

And guess what- the world might need you with your understanding of economics, and you with your medical doctorate, and you with your law degree, but the world also needs people like me with my Media & Communication and Religion Studies degrees.

So why did I choose my ‘useless’ major? Because I wanted to learn. I wanted to know. I wanted to think. I love knowledge. I love understanding. I love when my mind is opened and expanded. I love thinking critically. And I didn’t want a set path.

I don’t think that is a bad thing.

 

 

P.S. If anyone wants to give me a job, hit a sista up. I have a great personality.