Disillusionment After Uni: Moving Forward

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Well, what can I say after a title like that, huh? Well first let me start by saying that this is in no way a negative sort of post, it is a self-recording of what I have been through since graduating college.

I have taught myself a lot since my education has fallen into my own hands. When attending college, I didn’t seek out much guidance because I was often told to take pricier classes, or more classes than what I needed. One time I was placed in a math far above my level, I’m not so good in the mathematic area, but ever since then I never sought out any guidance and took only what I needed. This meant I only worked in a library job for 2 years for fun, with no real intention on being a librarian.

blur book stack books bookshelves
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What have I learned?

Well, I guess I have learned that not planning what my next move might have made the transition from student to working adult a little more tedious. Now I only have vague credentials that are “all over the place” like most hiring jobs tell me. I come from a very small town in Ohio (in the United States for anyone reading who is unfamiliar with the states), this is a place where I see poverty every day. People struggle to make ends meet and are “stuck” in place by the questionable economy.

When I graduated, I started applying to every place I could. I sent my resume to blogging sites, magazines, and even libraries. But no one was hiring a fresh and possibly inexperienced grad.

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When I got my hundredth (or quite close to my hundredth) rejection letter, I wanted to give up. I would throw myself onto my bed and stare at the ceiling- I knew I’ve hit a roadblock.

What now? What now? What now?

I would repeat those words as I paced, unemployed for two months and running out of savings. I then caved and applied to any opening I saw online, jobs high schoolers usually had. That was when I got a job at a movie theater.

two white and red admission tickets
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Now I don’t want to be a pessimist and say that the world was awful for reducing me, a college grad, into such a position as a part-time cashier at a small theater in a dying mall. It was the opposite. I went into myself for the time, watching the world as an observer. I didn’t want to think about the direction my life would take next.

So now here’s the hard part- I got an idea. What if I teach myself what they would teach me in school for a lot less and find a job that would give me a chance? Well, I started to pay for courses online (making sure they were accredited) while I started to reapply for jobs like a mad woman.

That was when I got a phone call. One private business called up my house and was asking to see me for an interview. My heart nearly flew out when I heard her say “for the photography assistant position”. Holy crap!

I had taken two years of Photoshop, film, and media training in a career center during my high school years. Nothing to do with my college degree. I jumped on the opportunity and went to my interview with high hopes.

What I came to was blessing in disguise.

abandoned architecture barn cabin
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I didn’t want to get out of my car. It was a very warm May morning, but I wanted to just sit in my car and stare at the building before me. I couldn’t believe my one big breakthrough was in a dilapidated old house right beside a run-down bar. I set out an alert on my phone, knowing I’ve seen movies that ended badly after these situations before going in.

“No one really walks in the door when the see the place,” said one manager as we sat down for the interview. I told them my experience with photography and editing, and how I liked to create beautiful videos and pictures in my free time. Next thing I knew, I got a phone in the morning. I was hired!

Now I’m not saying it was the best gig, but it was an amazing experience to travel on the road and see new things and places. The girl I was assistant to was the sweetest person I could have been matched with. This job gave me confidence in myself and made me think ‘if I could find this job, I could find any job if I give it a chance’.

shallow focus photo of dslr camera on brown wooden table
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That job didn’t last more than two months, the business went belly up and I was once again only working part-time at the theater. I knew I had to put my degree to good use one way or another and what better way than being a substitute teacher? I applied and got the job as fast as I could, traveling from school to school to teach new kids every day… I hated it.

I was desperate for money and I had two jobs that were not what I wanted to do. That was when my friend told me about the full-time position I am currently at now. It’s not what I had wanted, but seeing how far I’ve come and all the adventures I’ve already had, I know I won’t be lost for too long. After everything I went through this last year I found that my degree isn’t everything and it won’t give me the world. My determination and open mindedness got me every job I’ve had so far. They aren’t in my field of study, but they are helping me get to where I want to be.

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I am here to encourage anyone, degree or not, to keep your mind open and enjoy where you are because just one year out of college I found a huge group of friends, traveled for miles around as a photographer, met many different people, seen many strange places as a substitute teacher (while getting tips on a possible way to go if I wanted to pursue education), and found a job that gave me my own office (which oddly has been a dream of mine).

I can’t wait to see where this new year will take me! But I know I don’t have to stay in one place for too long if I don’t want to.