Senior year… was never how I expected it to be this year. Every graduating senior who’s still unemployed by now can understand where I’m coming from. Having to balance between being on top of my academics, staying on track with extracurricular activities, and applying to countless job applications, I felt stressed and anxious almost all the time.
It wasn’t until second semester when I really felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster, though. I was so positive and confident with myself in the beginning of the year that it’s ironic seeing how the complete opposite I gradually felt over the progression of the semester.
Back in February, I was offered an internship in Cleveland, OH, and a job in Washington D.C metropolitan area at around the same time. Not only that, I had an upcoming interview for an internship in Japan. Out of these three possible options, I chose the job in the D.C. area, not realizing how I would eventually feel after I accepted the offer.
To be honest, the position didn’t align with my future goals but I accepted it because I thought it would be a great learning opportunity. I enjoyed getting to know the people who worked there as well. However, because the position was very demanding, I was required to engage in online training every week. The more I trained, the more I panicked in my mind as I tried envisioning myself working at that company for over a year. The reality is that I couldn’t find myself working there for more than a summer, much less a year.
At the same time, I began looking for options that I could pursue after working at this company for a year. This was the beginning of my journey towards seeking out people who had the answers that I needed.
Eventually, there came a time when I missed a training session because I overslept. The reason why I overslept was because I kept feeling anxious about my future and began doubting my abilities. I acknowledged that it was completely inexcusable and unprofessional of me and apologized repeatedly to my seniors.
Regardless, my job offer got rescinded.
I was at a completely shock because both parties invested a lot of time and effort in the candidate interview process. From the start until the end, I worked very hard getting adjusted to the company’s work demands.
I didn’t tell my parents out of shame. I could hardly tell my friends after I told them about my accepting the job offer, but they were the first ones to know.
There were times when I couldn’t eat or sleep. And that was the beginning of my mental downfall. At first, I actually felt relieved knowing that I could try applying for opportunities I really wanted but the more jobs I applied to (who knew that working in fashion/sustainable fashion in New York City would be so hard?), the more rejections I received. I began grieving over the opportunities that I turned down.
My ego was crushed and I never felt so down in my life. The rest of the semester was filled with one disappointment after another. Seeking professional help was a challenge as well. I was occupied with one goal – getting a job – in my mind that I stopped focusing on projects that I planned on completing to showcase on my website.
Being around my friends could help so much, but I think what really helped me feel better about myself was meeting and reuniting with people who have been through what I am going through now. I spoke those who graduated before me. I escaped my campus and took a trip to New York City and spoke to people there.
I didn’t stop feeling anxious after that, though. The anxiety would continue until right about a week ago. How, you ask? Let’s just say that I had to break down my ego or else I would’ve just gone with it to hell.
Let’s flash forward to now. After just having gotten my nth rejection several hours ago, I’ve decided that I need to stop. I need to stop crying and feeling bad for myself. I need to stop.
I need to go home. I need to get rid of all these negative emotions. I need time and space of my own so that I can heal myself. My self-worth is not based on my status of employment or in any way how others perceive me. I am smart and capable. I AM ENOUGH. And to those who are still struggling to find your way, just remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH, TOO.
This semester has definitely been a humbling experience for me and I hope that some of you will find comfort in my words.