We’ve all been there. Working multiple jobs throughout college hoping to earn something/ANYTHING to get you by. From working the slave hours at Victoria’s Secret (think Black Friday… uhhh, I mean PINK Friday to Semi-Annual Sales/Madness) to working on-campus in between classes; the struggle of balancing classes, labs, homework, group work (yuck!), GYM, a social life (if you’re lucky), extracurriculars, etc… How do we do it all… and actually SUCCEED in doing so?
Well, as a recent college graduate as of May 2016, let me tell you. This whole college experience was meant to pave the way for some failure. IT’S OKAY TO FAIL. I remember starting out at TWO community colleges just trying to get as many classes as I can get before going to UCLA (or so I thought… until I was rejected; TWICE!). Although I didn’t see it then, it was indeed a blessing. Had I not gotten rejected by UCLA, I would’ve studied something way out of line (i.e.: Biology!). Trust me, I went from Biology to Political Science back to Biology until…
I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Public Health at CSUN; otherwise also labeled as Cal State University NOWHERE (ouch?!). While I understand people’s misconceptions of my alma mater, I must attest to the contrary. It’s where I continued developing my passion for serving the community. Whether it’s planning health programs for college students, promoting smoking cessation programs in light of our new smoke-free policy, giving campus tours to prospective students or simply serving in Student Leadership, CSUN instilled in me numerous skills and traits that make me who I am today. Public Health? Who would’ve thought I would actually find something I actually loved studying/continue on doing?
Yes, I was still convinced on going to pharmacy school, so I unfortunately struggled my ways through organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry (thank you, Khan Academy!)… all while trying to meet up with groups to write our senior thesis AND while working at my fixed-schedule pharmacy job. It was basically HELL doing it all. I pushed myself so hard that I started getting sick every couple of weeks and I lost my social life. I had forgotten what it was like to interact with people, my own friends. I even stopped doing the whole dating thing. I simply could not find that balance.
I was UNHAPPY. I wasn’t the 4.0 student in college the way I was in high school. My plan on going straight to pharmacy/graduate school diminished along the way. I felt like a disappointment to the people around me… Little did I realize, the only pressure I felt was FROM MYSELF. It’s hard when you don’t see it then, but in retrospect, everything I did was to please others. I learned the hard way that yes, it’s okay to NOT know what you want to do, it’s okay to be lost, it’s okay to still be on this quest to FINDING yourself. Trust me, I’m still on this journey, but you know what – I’ve never been prouder of the person I’ve become.
After multiple failed interviews this summer, I was this close to just applying somewhere random and just make SOME money. ANYTHING to make me feel purposeful rather than me sitting here trying to figure it all out. Then I was offered my very first post-college job. Just this week, I started my position as a Clinical Research Coordinator. Although it’s a very clinical job description, research has always been an interest of mine, and I cannot wait to start enrolling research participants and contribute data to the study.
My point is, we don’t always have to have an answer. Trust me, this job may not be all glamorous, but I know this is a learning experience. Look at how far I’ve come from all those bra fittings and panty-folding days/nights/in-betweens. It is a stepping stone to where I know I’d eventually be. We don’t always have to know where we’re going. In fact, everyday SHOULD be a learning experience. It’s the only way to keep you motivated. As long as you DECIDE to take THAT first step, you’re already one step closer to wherever you’re meant to be. Any step is progress. 🙂