Through the Mist: A Crash Course in Getting to Know Yourself
Fun fact: Most college graduates have no idea what they’re actually doing with their lives. Trust no Facebook status that would make you believe otherwise.
If you find yourself getting lost in life after graduation (and all of the possibilities that are out there for your career or calling), look no further. Here’s how to get to know the real you and figure out what you were meant to be doing:
1. Assess your personality.
I’m not one to put people in boxes. Let’s be real. Humans are way more complex than being one of sixteen “personality types.” But knowing the very basics of your personality can help you figure out what kind of occupation and/or work environment you can fit into.
I personally like the Myers-Briggs personality test, and it is (mostly) accurate. The only thing that gets a little dicey for me is that I get “INFJ” (introvert) or “ENFJ” (extrovert) depending on what mood I’m in that day. I’m weird sometimes.
After you learn your four-letter type, you can Google “jobs for XXXX” and see common careers for your personality type. BUT DON’T LET THIS BE THE LAST WORD ON YOUR CAREER. If this were the case, Ally would be a dentist. Y’all, I can’t make this up.
Use this new-found knowledge to understand what type of job situations you could see yourself in from day-to-day. Are you a desk job warrior or a traveling butterfly? Are you a team player or do you work better on projects alone? This information can help you learn what job and culture work best for you.
2. View your life in retrograde.
Most of us have an idea of what we want to be doing post-graduation. In fact, we’ve known what we’ve truly wanted to do since we were kids, before the world told us who or what we should be.
We all have certain elements to ourselves that are gracefully woven to make each of us different. You are an original, not a copy. And it’s important that you pay attention to the elements that make you unique.
For me, I am supremely inspired by people, almost to a fault. I’m also a bit of a nerd. By a bit, I mean, when I wasn’t studying during undergrad (and many times when I should have been), I had my nose stuck in a book. You could lose me to the Social Studies section of a bookstore for an entire Sunday afternoon.
Take some time to think about what makes your heart beat faster and what makes your world just seem to “click.” It could be the most mundane task or a certain environment, but that warm feeling you get isn’t just an accident. It’s you living in your “sweet spot,” in the environment that you were created to thrive in.
3. Discuss yourself with someone you trust.
I may have pockets full of sunshine, but I also have a pocket full of people I can get vulnerable with. I’m talking “hey, here’s me and everything that I can do right but also all my little things (and big things) that I mess up on and need help with.”
Talk to someone about the types of jobs that match your personality and what you need in a lifestyle. This person could remind you that, even though you want to be a nurse, you are also disgustingly squeamish and scared of needles. Sometimes it takes another person to see through the haze that can accompany the excitement of an idea.
4. Get reflective.
For me, this means praying for clarity. I don’t think we’re ever going to be given a big ‘ole billboard that says “HEY YOU. Yes, you, with the lion’s mane. This is the direction you should go. You’re welcome.” Unfortunately, life and plans don’t happen like that. I think that’s why it’s important to ask for guidance in the little roadblocks along the way.
Pray for wisdom and clarity and remain steadfast when things get rough, and you can trust that your steps will be guided.