Singing in the Rain: Finding the Sunlight in a Downpour
We’ve all heard the idiom “when it rains, it pours.” When something goes wrong, it feels like everything else that could possibly go wrong, does. Maybe your storm is very literal. Maybe it’s raining as you power-walk to campus on your way to an 8 a.m. test, and just as you’re about to cross the street, a car’s wheels catch a nearby puddle and douse you. (True story, y’all.) Or maybe your storm is abstract: the stress of life hangs over you like one of those cartoon thunderstorm clouds.
So, what do you do? In my case, I hopped on a bus, hurriedly dried myself off with stiff paper towels in the restroom, and decided that—instead of letting it put a damper on my day— I would mark it off the bucket list right next to ripping my pants on my first day of class. Check and check!
When bad things befall us, we tend to grab a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream (just because the name alone understands our suffering), turn on an episode of Gilmore Girls and wallow. If Olivia Pope is your spirit animal, you might grab a glass of red wine the size of your face and smile-cry your way through the pain. No matter which your ritual happens to be, one thing is certain: all good pity sessions must come to an end.
Once you’ve downed the contents of the bottle or carton and your head is spinning with Lorelai-isms, it’s time to remember the silver lining. Trust me, I know that remaining positive when a certain type of “it” hits the fan is hella difficult, but we all grapple with our own personal storms.
When I graduated from Texas A&M last May, I was a sloppy mixture of emotions: ready to dive into life after those indescribable four years, to turn over a new leaf, but simultaneously apprehensive and longing to take the pocket-change that my schooling had graciously left me and travel. The one snag in each situation was that I was clueless as to which direction to take, which jobs to look for or even what I wanted to do with my life. I was inundated with vague inclinations and interests that I could have possibly pursued, yet was so flighty and uncertain that a breeze could have knocked me over.
I decided to pause my overwrought thoughts and instead do something. Now, I had no intention of pursuing a career in the legal field after graduation. Skip to a couple months later when I accepted a position as a legal assistant at a firm in my hometown. They had employed me as a paper-pusher during summer and winter breaks, and when I reached out to them in an attempt to revamp my network, they graciously and excitedly invited me back on board. I have much more responsibility than I had previously, and I am gaining work-related experience and expanding my network, two things that are extremely advantageous in the pursuit of employment.
Moral of the story: don’t be a sitting duck. Be something majestic that flies, and remember the following:
Puddles are just shallow holes filled with water.
Your problems may appear insurmountable in your most vulnerable moments, but once you splash around a little, you realize just how shallow and easily overcome they can be with the right attitude—and rain boots!
Seasons change weather we want them to or not (pun intended).
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our uncertainty that we forget something crucial: it’s normal to feel scared, overwhelmed, stressed and confused to the point that we get North and South mixed up with East and West. It’s okay to be afraid, just as long as we don’t use that fear as an excuse for inaction.
I let a portion of that first year get away from me, because I wasn’t able to immediately find that one job. After several leads turned into dead-ends, I became discouraged and unmotivated. I dug my heels into the mud, read 10 novels—no, I’m not joking—, and otherwise told my clock that I couldn’t care less that it was moving forward, especially since I refused to admit that I was too petrified and dejected to follow its lead.
But, in the end, the clock keeps ticking. You can always find comfort in that, though, because this means that several things are true: the world still spins on its axis, Friends reruns continue to air on daytime television and opportunities await you!
Don’t get caught in the downpour without an umbrella.
Take a page from Gene Kelly’s book. Instead of chanting “rain, rain, go away,” embrace the storm! Sing and dance in the celestial flood! When you get burnt out from looking for the perfect job or you feel like throwing your hands in the air in defeat, take a breath. Recollect and better equip yourself so that you can stay afloat the next time.
Storms don’t seem so scary when you’re with friends.
When a storm hits unexpectedly, remember that it’s always acceptable —read: highly recommended— to channel your inner Fräulein Maria. Gather the troops, hop on the bed and loudly sing about dog bites and whiskers on kittens. If you can’t sing or the structural integrity of your bed frame is questionable, simply draw near to your friends: network.
Networking is important, even if the jobs that are available and/or offered to you were totally not in that Lisa Frank notebook from elementary school under your MASH career results. (Because if you could marry Justin Timberlake, live in a mansion, and drive a Ferrari, all by way of a few spirals of a pencil on a page, why can’t you land your dream job?) Accepting a job that you didn’t envision taking could set you on the right path to your career goals by helping you gain helpful experience, skills in interacting with coworkers and authority-figures and increased confidence in your abilities.
Clouds hide the sun like hands hold water: poorly.
Keep everything in perspective. No matter what kinds of clouds are blocking your sun, they always move and they even sometimes let a few rays through their fluffy fractures. Don’t be afraid to do something you wouldn’t normally do or take a job you wouldn’t normally take, because every experience matters. This doesn’t mean giving up on your goals or surrendering to the clouds’ shadows. It means prioritizing. It means giving yourself a break from anxiety. It means moving forward, maybe a different direction than planned, but a move nonetheless. It means taking a chance, making a change, —not breaking away, but props to y’all who were thinking of Kelly Clarkson— and living.