This is a post dedicated to all of those who have recently graduated.
Graduating is mostly hard. For some, its amazing and every company you’ve applied for calls you back and offers a high starting salary packaged with cool coworkers that ask you to play golf with them on the weekends! And that is fantastic. It really is, you’ve worked your tail off in school and nailed some interviews and you are working in da real world, hurray! For others it’s harder. You’ve done the same thing- studied your tail off, applied, applied, applied and then nothing. They offer the position to someone else. But how you’re thinking?!?! They’ve never even heard your funniest joke or felt your firm and rehearsed handshake! It’s tough, rejection in all forms sucks. But just like flirting, we must never give up.
Freshman year at the U of MN, my ecology lab partner asked me what my major was. I said psychology. I envisioned my future-self studying neurotransmitters and finding break through discoveries in autism and other experiments involving a white lab coat. Not going to lie, I was hoping for an answer like “Oh you want to study the human brain, COOL!” Instead, unapologetically, he looked at me and said, “So you’re going to graduate to be a waitress then, huh?” I was appalled. 18 year-old self saw nothing short of changing the world after those 4 arduous and studious years. Who was he kidding? He probably didn’t even know my name but he had already decided he was going to try to stomp on my scholastic passions and future dreams. Little did he know in 4 years I was going to be partnered with the most respected psychologists and our clinical trials would be published and praised. I wanted to punch him in the face right then and there, but I believe I just stared at him with my eyes and mouth wide open. *Rudeness often astonishes me. Actually, I still want to punch him in the face even though I swear on someone else’s life I am completely over this long-forgotten interaction. Ugh, he was probably a Carlson kid, too.
Flash forward 4 years and I have received my bachelor’s in psychology, hurray! And I am a waitress at two different restaurants, hurray! I do not wear a white lab coat and I do not have a salary, hurray! I have not found a cure to Autism, let alone a cure to my smelly feet! I have recently gone out of my way to contact that man I met 4 years ago to tell him that his first submissive assumption of me was right! And he calmly said, “I knew it, what a peasant you are. I am currently working with a team of researchers and we just discovered the cure to cancer.” Except for that’s not true. He was in Texas selling handcrafted dream catchers. KIDDING, I NEVER CONTACTED HIM. But sometimes when I get a $20 dollar tip for merely refilling someone’s diet coke 5 times and asking if their food tastes alright, I do fist pump and fight the urge to call him and say “Ha!” and then hang up. But I don’t because I am ooooover it. Also, diet coke is still not good for you, Americanos!!!!
Sometimes I get down on myself, too. I studied so hard. I cried in professors’ offices and I shoveled my car out of feet of snow to make it to exams. I stayed up late at nights between work and school and then slept through classes drank so much coffee that I could be attentive in class. And then the big day came and I felt so grown-up and my family cheered and I got a piece of paper that said my diploma would come in the mail at the University’s convenience. And then!!!!! Nothing. I looked the same, I smelt the same, I still got acne. The only change was all my friends moved away and the school gym had forbidden me. I looked for entry-level psychology careers and with no luck I crawled back to the restaurant and officially became the stereotypical psychology graduate/waitress.
And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with being a waitress, just like there is nothing wrong with being a lawyer or a painter or a pianist or a chef or an accountant or a computer programmer or a receptionist or a dog walker or a doctor. There should be absolutely no shame in your game when you are working hard to support yourself. If you have found a profession that makes your heart sing, by all means pursue it relentlessly. But don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t happen over night. We’re all in this scary what-is-the-real-world-what-are-taxes-I-have-so-much-debt boat and we will all come out swimming and surviving if we keep working hard and staying positive. And if someone does approach you and attempts to humiliate you based on your job after college choice, you can tell this said person to piss right off that while they have a fair right to an opinion you’d like to never hear it again.
Okay?! So YOU will be just FINE even if you don’t find a 9-5 job immediately, 6 months, or a year after college. And by just fine I mean you won’t fall off the face of the earth and if you do I am so sorry. Graduating is a feat in itself and your worthiness is not based on your job title. Be kind, stay humble, work for what you want and most importantly- don’t let the haters break your spirit!! And for the record, I did remain lab partners with the meanie because he was strangely good at ecology. Sometimes you just need to play the game amiright? Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a nice and happy life.