When Life Isn’t Authentically Joyful

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been struggling lately with a few things.

Not only do I have writer’s block to the EXTREME with this blog, but I also feel so insecure about my career path, or lack thereof.

So many people go to college knowing exactly what they want to do when they graduate. Nursing majors become nurses, education majors become teachers, accounting majors become accountants, and so on. But what if you’re like me, and you’re an Educational Studies major because you couldn’t figure out what you wanted to do after graduation right up until your senior year?

The second semester of my junior year, I realized I didn’t want to become a teacher at all, in fact, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stay an education major. I wasn’t about to start over, not that that point. Any tuition, private or not, is expensive. And for being someone who couldn’t wait to get out of school and begin her career, the thought of starting over was terrible.

I did, however, realize my love for higher education and desire to serve students in some capacity that didn’t involve teaching. I had so many wonderful mentors and bosses at Viterbo. Within my four years there, I had the opportunity to work in Campus Ministry, Office of Residence Life, Office of Institutional Advancement, Office of Admissions, Office of Student Development, and the Fine Art’s Center. Sometimes, I was working in 3 or more offices at a time. Although they each had their ups and downs, I was most myself and the most joyful knowing I was able to serve my peers, future students, and alum/friends of my university. I was absolutely sold.

Upon leaving Viterbo, I was excited to see what opportunities were out there. I had a temporary move to Iowa where I had the opportunity to work in two of my favorite jobs ever, one at a family chiropractic office and another at a local pub. I knew these weren’t my forever positions, but I loved every single second of them and really wanted to gain as much meaningful experience as I could before moving to Connecticut. After saying my goodbye’s in January 2019, I was on my way to Connecticut to begin what I thought would be my career.

I began applying for position in Higher Education before I moved out here. I think one thing that get’s overshadowed is the fact that it’s more difficult than we think to find a meaningful job after graduation. I quickly learned that landing a job in higher education is way more competitive and difficult than it seems. Unless you have a Master’s degree, previous experience, or an “in”, it’s almost impossible to be offered a position with a university or college.

As time was running out and the bills were piling up, I began applying for almost anything and everything. (Mistake #1) I can’t even tell you how many applications I’ve filled out in the past year, but my estimate would be anywhere between 150-200. At this point, I needed any source of income, no matter where it came from.

Fast forward to now, February 2020. In the past year, I’ve had multiple rejection letters, three temporary positions, poor bosses, experienced being laid off, low pay, negative work environments, and jobs in areas I am not passionate about, whatsoever. Of the 150-200 applications I’ve submitted, about 50 of those have been jobs in Higher Education I was truly and 100% passionate about.

Yes, I’ve had a few interested perspective employers at universities and some phone or in person interviews, but each time, the closer I get to getting an offer, someone else with just a bit more experience or with other skills I haven’t acquired quite yet lands the job I’ve been praying and dreaming about for three years.

After a while, it gets defeating and takes a toll on your self esteem. I am almost two years out of college and I can truly say I have yet to experience what it feels like to be a part of a company or organization where my degree, passions, and drive all align into one meaningful career starter.

I’ve heard it all. “You should have accepted that internship in college.” or “Why didn’t you change your degree from the start?” or my absolute favorite (sarcasm) “It’ll be okay! God has a plan for you!”

Does he though?

I think one of the most important things for us to remember is that no matter what season of life you’re in, you can’t change the past. Sure, it would be a heck of a lot easier if things had gone a different direction just years ago, but instead of dwelling on the past, all you can do it move forward and keep chugging along.

I received yet another rejection letter this afternoon. I’m not going to lie, this is really difficult for me. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I do know God has a plan for me. Certain aspects of Noah’s and mine’s life are on hold or not in the picture for the time being. I’m not quite sure what God’s doing anymore. But as I’ve always told others in their time’s of despair, he’s a tricky guy. You never know what he’s going to do next.

St. Joseph & St. Faustina, pray for us.

2 thoughts on “When Life Isn’t Authentically Joyful

  1. Thank you for your authentic sharing. The struggle is real.
    Blessings as you continue the journey. You (and Noah and your little one) are in my prayers.

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