Do you ever get the feeling that you have been sold a lie? That is exactly how I felt after I graduated college. I was proud and excited about this piece of paper that I was sold, knowing that it would ensure a better future for me. It did not take long to find out that those hopes were misplaced. I had my college degree, but where was the career that was supposed to follow it?
After many months of searching, nothing had turned up in my degree field. I was forced to take other jobs and I still had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I was discouraged. I was disappointed. Was there something more I needed to do? The answer inside me was a resounding YES! There had to be. There is something in college I had failed to do. The hard part was figuring it out and admitting it.
Now before I go any further, please understand I am not upset at the schools I attended. They sold a product that I willingly bought. I chose the degree field. I chose my course of study. I even chose where I would go to school. No it was not the University that was to blame for my plight. I believe they could have done more to help me along the way, but ultimately it was my fault.
Was it really though? Was it my fault I had not found a job? Yes. Was it my fault that I had not had a true sense of direction? Yes. Was it my fault that I found myself in a season of doubt? Yes. It was my fault. I floated through every decision I had made up to that point and just assumed tat they were the right ones. After all, I was 18. You are supposed to choose what you want to do at 18 and stick to it for the rest of your life…right? In a word…no.
What was missing? There was something I hadn’t done. What was it that I had neglected to do while I was still in college? Or even before college? This is so simple that it is going to sound simple. I never sat down, got honest, and made a plan. Yep…I told you it would sound simple. I never sat down and thought through where my decisions would take me.
The crazy thing is I had these thoughts and feelings twenty years ago. I thought I was alone in my struggles. Yeah, right. I had to realize what so many others have had to figure out…a degree isn’t a guarantee of anything. Now more than ever, it is just a one of many tools that can help with your career, but there is so much more you have to have.
Thankfully, I finally started asking the right questions and eventually got to a career that I love. It didn’t come haphazardly though. I’ve had to keep my eyes open. I’ve had to keep learning. I’ve put in a ton of work. I had to realize that this was never a destination I was traveling to. It is a journey that I have to stay on.
If you ever find yourself asking, “OK, now what?” maybe it is time to sit down and figure out what the future needs to look like. Ultimately, it is up to you. That is scary and awesome all at the same time.