Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sometimes you just don't have it all figured out

I knew this post was coming, I could feel it brimming on the surface, so I knew eventually I would have to write about it to get it out. That's how I get things out, I have to write about them and since my journal writing has been pretty darn crappy lately, this blog has seemed to get more personal. I know a lot of people talk about how so many blogs seem so fake, that the authors only talk about the amazing crafts that they make, and how exciting their lives are. Well, I'm not awesome at crafts, nor is my life very exciting. I'm a real person, and I struggle just like everyone else.

Actually, next month will be two years since I graduated. As I was getting ready to graduate people kept telling me that it's a hard time to know what to do with yourself after school. Apparently, I didn't realize how hard that transition would be for me. I went to college straight from high school. I knew exactly what I wanted to study, always felt that it was right for me. The hardest part, is graduating with a degree that doesn't have a job attached to it. I was the first one in my family to go to college, let alone graduate. There wasn't really anyone to tell me "Hey, maybe graduating in anthropology without any job prospects, in the worst time economically to graduate maybe isn't such a good idea."

I guess really I should be grateful that I have a job, but it's not something that I feel fulfilled doing. Like, not even close. These past two years have been a really big struggle. I felt like the one thing that I was good at, school, all of the sudden was gone out of my life and I had no one to help guide me as to what I should do now. Hal was so supportive, even though I'm pretty sure that he thought his wife had all of the sudden gone to crazy town, and didn't understand why. Everyone needs an outlet, especially a creative outlet, for me, that had always been school. That's where I focused all of my energy and my drive, and then boom, I was just expected to find something new and be ok with things.

I applied for a lot of jobs, I went on quite a few interviews, but nothing really was happening. That's when we decided to apply for the Peace Corps. After that I stopped looking for a new job because it was taking up a lot of my time. It's now been a year since we applied. We are still waiting to hear if we are going or not. Even though we kind of put most of our eggs in the Peace Corps basket, I think I'm slowly becoming ok with the idea of not going. I knew it was the right thing for us to go through this process. If we don't go, I have no idea why it was the right thing, but I have just always felt like it was the right thing for us. Who knows, maybe it's prep for what we'll endure with applying through medical school, but I don't even thing medical school can surpass how difficult applying for the Peace Corps is.

It seems so many people just know exactly what they should do with their lives. They have such passion and drive to that. I'm so jealous of that. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but once I got married that wasn't really an option anymore. Since then I haven't been able to find something that I feel passionate enough to dedicate my career to. I wonder if it's even worth it, since I know eventually I want to stay home with our children. So I wonder, is it ok to work at a rather meaningless job until I have children, or do I need something more than that?

I've been toying with the idea of going back and getting my masters degree. It just seems so hard! I've been out of school for two years, how is anyone going to remember me to write a letter of recommendation for me? Would I want to get my masters in Anthropology and maybe teach? Or do I want to get a masters in something completely different? Could I even get  into a masters program if I didn't get a BA in that area? Gah, there are just so many options.

My friend and I talked about this a while ago. I just wish someone would tell me what to do with my life. I don't really care to have that option. I think I would be pretty happy with someone saying, "you should do this"...and I would be o"h, ok that sounds good" and go forward with that. Is that bad to feel like that? To not feel passionate about a certain career? I think today's standards make you feel guilty if you don't have your career all figured out. Is it weird that I feel like all of my passion for careers was put into Hal's career. I feel passionate now that he has decided what he wants to do, and I will do anything to help him get there, but I just can't quite figure that out for myself. Is it something you can figure out, outside of school?

Ok, seriously, just writing this down and talking about it makes me feel so much better. It's nice to just write it out, and let it out, even if it is just to the internet and the few people who read my blog.

So please, tell me I'm not all alone in this. And if you did figure out your career choice, how did you decide? What led you to find that passion?


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel! I did a very vocational degree - Mechanical Engineering - but the degree totally put me off the subject and I have zero interest in pursuing a career in it! It's nearly 3 years since I graduated now, and I did apply for loads of jobs when I first graduated just because I knew I needed to do something. I didn't get one single reply, and I was more than qualified for every post I applied for. I ended up working for my husband doing his accounts - a job that needed done cos he was in a bit of a fix, but three years on and I'm giving it up because it's sucking the soul out of me! And so I'm also contemplating returning to study, but for a completely different subject. I just feel like I need to get out there and do something that is going to stimulate me. I miss "thinking".

Have I said too much?? ha ha! Just wanted you to know you're not alone - there's plenty of other "lost" graduates trying to find their way!

I hope you figure out soon what will make you happy :)

ChloƩ said...

you are not alone in this Sam. trust me.. i have been feeling a lot of these same feelings. .except that i didn't finish my bachelors degree. i am wanting to go back because i feel like there is more that i need to be doing. but then i think.. if i finish? will i end up feeling the same way? i don't have all the answers for you.. but i know this.. you are an amazing person. a wonderful friend, and you should be so proud of yourself. just because you aren't working in what you majored in? doesn't make you a failure or anything even close to that. i look up to you so much for even getting your bachelors degree. you are amazing sam. and whatever you decide to do? you will be awesome at. whether it be peace corps, going back to get your masters, staying where you are now or being a stay at home mom? you will rock it. you are awesome. hang in there and if you ever need anything let me know! love ya!

Jessica said...

I love you and your ramblings and since without said meaningless job I wouldn't even know you I am glad you at least took it, although I am surprised you are still there.

I know it is hard to find where you fit in in the world and it isn't always where you expected. I have my MEd and always thought I would teach and I have worked in a law firm for the last 10 years. I too think I am ready for a change but I have no clue what direction that I want to go in either and I agree it would be great if someone just told me. My only advice is to follow your heart. Good luck!! And hang in there with the Peace Corp.

Sam said...

I know exactly how you feel. I am so lost with what I should or should want to be doing. Part of me doesn't have any strong feelings or passion towards a career path and part of me wants to go back to get my masters. I wish someone could tell me what I'm supposed to do next also. I've toyed with the idea of the Peace Corps, but I never knew the process would take so long. Knowing me, I'd probably change my mind about it by the time I actually got in then. Ugh. I think that is awesome though that you went to school for something that you truly loved, even if just at the time, because I really wish I wasn't talked out of going for what I really wanted to go for (photography) and went for something more practical. The practical degree hasn't been of any worth so far anyway!

Know that you are not alone, that you are an intelligent, beautiful person and you will succeed in whichever path you take :)

Keely said...

OMG I swear I'm having the exact same nervous breakdown. I graduated almost 2 years ago and I HATE MY JOB with every fiber of my being. I got a degree in journalism and a minor in Bio. WTF??? I'm struggling because I need to support my husband but I am so unhappy. And in answer to your question "Should I work at a meaningless job until I have kids" I struggle with this every day. I can't wait to be a mom, but I want to discover what I love before having them. Not nearly as simple as it sounds.

Wha tis really weird is that I've been seriously considering going back to school to study Anthropology when J gets in to residency. I am so fascinated by the subject and wish I would have realized that in undergrad.

I truly believe that if you follow your heart, it will lead you to the right place...but waiting for the right place is so hard when you need the money.

If you come up with a solution would you tell me??? This post couldn't have come on a better day, I can truly commiserate :0(

Mama Rachel said...

Sam, your role as a helpmeet and wife to your husband IS the most noble work you can and will ever do. You don't have to be crafty, and you don't have to have babies yet to do that great work.

You know I'm an opinionated woman, and I am being completely sincere here. Heavenly Father has big plans for you and Hal and your family. The eternal unit you two are nurturing and building is amazing! There IS joy in the journey, and it's up to each of us to find it in the mundane everyday things that fill our lives.

I know that Heavenly Father holds ALL the answers for our lives. I also know that if you ask Him, He will lead you to His plans for your mission in life.

"Out of small and simple things, great things are brought to pass."

Love you guys!!! :-)

Maddie said...

I just typed you some really long comment but it didn't publish for some reason :( gah!
But basically, you are amazing Sam. One of the most beautiful people I've met, inside and out, and I your desire to join the Peace Corps is so admirable that I can't put it into words even. Keep your chin up, you have so many great things to accomplish ahead of you! :)

{Selma} Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

Sam, you are not the only one. Most people feel this way, with a degree, without one, with children, without...it doesn't matter. Unfortunately, you know, I am no genius with some exciting plans lying around so things would become more "okay and easy and meaningful". I wish I was and had those ideas and visions. This is one reason why I want to go back to school...if I don't try I may never know what's going to happen. And I've been out of school for six years so this is going to be one fun trip for me. ;) But know, you are definitely not alone. My fingers are still crossed for you two and the Peace Corps; and if this really is not going to happen I know you will find something that will light that fire in you and make you feel fulfilled again.

My godmother once told me that no matter how old you get, you will never be too old to go back to school or at least learn something new. You will never have things figured out completely but you can lie to yourself and believe you have. However, life is a journey and we're walking on it trying to udnerstand each and every day...so, my best guess is whoever has figured out a career, studied that, and has been working in this field is that genius we all would love to become.

Not sure if this made any sense.
Though know I'm hugging you from my side of the world. :) Always.


ashlee bracken. said...

um, i feel like you just took five pages out of my mental diary. it really is the worst feeling, isn't it? i stopped going to school because i just dont know what i want to do with my life. and now that i'm not going to school, all i do is work and wait for the weekends to arrive. not living at all if you ask me. i keep telling jordan i feel so lost, and i cant figure out why!
all i can say is i hope we figure it out soon. and support our handsome husbands along the way.
&heart;s feel better sam!
ps: if i were in your situation, i would consider getting your masters in teaching. and teach high school. i think that sounds wonderful. and think about the teachers schedule.. weekends, breaks, holidays, summers off. still with decent pay. hallelujah.

ashlee bracken. said...

AND, since you love school so much, you would get the experience of going everyday and teaching kids about everything else that you love!

The Boob Nazi said...

I knew I wanted to help people, and I loved phonology. My sister suggested speech, and I went into it. It's funny how others in our lives can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves at times. Ask around. See if anyone could help. (I know I'm the worst at this since I HATE unsolicited advice, but it was really helpful.) It was, quite possibly, the best thing decision I've ever made.

Monica Lynn said...

Exploring. That's what you love to do. That and many other things. I feel like since you don't have an obvious path in front of you that perhaps yours is one that someone hasn't already made for you. You should really invest in some dreaming time to really see what tickles your fancy, and it probably won't be a "career". But you could make it your life's work.

I know what I want to do, and always have, but recently I've been exploring how I can make it happen and how I'm to make my dreams come true, and you know what? It goes hand in hand with my #1 dream; being a superfantastical wifey-momsy. I don't believe Heavenly Father would give us the amazing job of being wifes and moms unless we were qualified for it by our passions and dreams. He also wouldn't give us those things unless we were meant to find fulfillment in them (them being both our roles as women, wives, and mothers, and our passions and pursuits).

Also you need an adventure hat. And to come to Ben's gig on the 23rd. They are super close in the running for a mini record deal to record their second record and get professional pressing and album art.

You just have to find out what your life's work is, and you know who knows exactly what that is. And He likes you, so I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Torrie said...

Wow, your post said so many things that I've been feeling myself this semester...although I'm not graduated yet, I'm already starting to feel a little "freak out" episode coming on because I don't know what I want to do afterwards. I mean, I'm graduating in teaching, so it should be pretty obvious what I should be shooting for, but after completing all my classes, I don't know if I even want to do that anymore. I know I would be much happier if I would go on to get a PhD so I could teach in college, but that just isn't a possibility right now with Matt being so far away from graduating (he also is going into a medical field).

I don't know what to tell you, but if it helps any, you're not alone. Thanks for posting this; it made me feel a little bit more understood, somehow.

S and O said...

It sounds like you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, if I were you I would just throw myself into something I loved (even if it was a seemingly meaningless pursuit) and go with it. One thing I've found is that opportunities present themselves to you when your ready for them so put yourself in a position to accept them :)

Jamie Walker said...

Girl I totally get where you're coming from. Ever since I graduated (2 years ago) I'm doing a job that is related to my degree but I feel so empty at the end of the day. School just always goes and there's always something to work on, I get off of work at 4 and that's it for the day. Weird. I'm thinking of getting my Masters though you could do that!

And no we are not getting a house. My husband just switched jobs up to Park City, I'm in Ogden, so Salt Lake is our home for a while I guess. I don't want to buy a house until we both live close to work!

Ugh being an adult can be hard!

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

What I really want is to be a published author. What am I doing instead? I'm a server in a restaurant and working on a degree in sales and marketing. Definitely not doing what I want to be.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I know exactly where you're coming from. I was the first person in my family to go to school and graduate. I went out into the world having no clue what to do or where to go from there. Sometimes I feel like college should have an out processing class that tells you how about to get a real job and what it's going to be like.

I say if you want to go back to school then give it a shot.

The Secret Life of Bee said...

i know how you feel. i totally get the creative outlet thing. i hope things get better. and it would be awesome to be in the peace corps!

Amy Hansen said...

I felt exactly the same way for the longest time. I felt like I was the only person that didn't know what they wanted to do.

What worked for me what to figure out what my hobbies are that I enjoy and see if any of them could be done as a job. Photography was on that list. Then I decided to try it out and see if I liked it...and I LOVED it! That's what worked for me.

If you want, I can help you brainstorm ideas of how to monetize the things you love to do. I think there is always a way! :) Just let me know if you want some ideas.

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