Coming out of a graduate program right smack dab in the middle of the year is stressful enough as it is. Throw in the fact that my degree is in teaching and teaching jobs generally are given out in the beginning of the school year, let’s just say it’s hard to focus on your future when you literally have no idea what it holds within the next 4 months, 5 weeks, 7 days even. Being a day to day substitute has it’s perks. I get to travel, experience different parts of the state, find out what schools I like, what kinds of kids and grades I like to teach and really gain the experience I need for a full time job. However, for the entire first two weeks after I graduated, I lay in bed. I literally did not move except for basic human needs. I was burnt out, having been to school for the past 18 years. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Part of it was a lack of motivation. No, that’s a lie. I was motivated to get a job; of course I want a job. However, wanting a job and finding a career are two very separate ideas. They require planning and thinking and saving, and preparing. I realized quickly during my unpaid internship how incredibly easy it is to get a part time job with any kind of college degree at age 24.
I have just enough experience to show that I have basic skills of any high school cashier, waitress, hostess, clothes folder, you name it. I have the social skills from years of schmoozing professors, colleagues and peers to impress a seasoned manager of a Marshall’s. However, building a portfolio to actually start a career, gaining experience takes time. I’ve realized that in order to really stay motivated to start this is to stay hungry. I write a goal list weekly. This is not just goals for the week it’s goals that I want to accomplish within months and even years. Things change every day. My wants change every day. Last week I wanted to move into an apartment in May. This morning I researched how to buy a house in your 20’s. Tomorrow I will probably end up looking up what kind of certification you need to teach in the islands of Turks and Caicos. My point is that my mind is always changing on what I want my future to hold (not that anyone can really plan their future anyway) but I’m at least always looking forward to it.
If I woke up every day and the only thing I had to look forward to my future was my retirement home in Florida and pension check, I’d have called it quits yesterday afternoon. I love what my future holds. Granted, I have no idea what this is, but I at least know I plan to do so many things. I very well could wake up in 50 years and realize I didn’t do anything and Eat, Pray, Love the situation but at least I will still have that spark of wanderlust. At this point, I’m not really sure where I was originally going with this. My thought process about my career is tricky. When you’re 24, you’re stuck in this weird transitional period of life where you know you should save and be financially smart until you’re stable. However, if that’s the case, how are you supposed to save up when you don’t know if or when you’ll get married, you’ll potentially get married, spend all your money on a house/wedding/kids, and all that time not knowing if or when you’ll get to experience travel and adventure. Like I said, a career and a job are very different and I look forward to a fulfilling career as a teacher that I’ve worked hard for 18 years to achieve. But I need time. I still have so much ambition for everything else in life. My stomach turns with butterflies whenever I think about planning trips and meeting new people and experiencing things. Don’t put all your goals in one basket. I’m not trying to tell you what to do. Get the career you crave but be mindful of the lifestyle you want to maintain. They don’t always go hand in hand but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have them both. If someone could point me in the right direction on this conundrum, that would be great.