The Dream Worth Chasing
In 2009, I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. With a bachelor’s degree and big dreams, I was excited to begin the next chapter of my life. As I watched my friends move to New York City for their first “big girl” jobs, I found myself jobless and doing the exact opposite of them: I moved back to my hometown and in with my parents.
I knew that living at home would be temporary, so I dedicated myself to finding a job at a fashion magazine in NYC. I applied to publication after publication every day for weeks. But after a couple months of receiving rejection emails, I realized that maybe moving to the Big Apple wasn’t meant to be for me. So, I began looking for opportunities at companies in the Midwest and after six months of searching, I accepted a copywriter position at a jewelry company in suburban Kansas.
Once I landed the job, everything started to move at the speed of light. I found my first apartment and quickly learned what it was truly like to be an adult. Gone were the days that my parents paid my rent and utility bills. Instead, it was now my responsibility to pay for my expenses. It was definitely a shock at first, but at the same time, I felt proud of myself. I developed a new sense of confidence from being able to support myself. I started cooking instead of ordering take-out every evening and started saving money in case I needed it for a “rainy day” (trust me, there were plenty of those days during my first year!). I also learned what it was like to make sacrifices, much like the ones my parents made for me so I could graduate from one of the best universities in the country. I spent every day during my first year with that thought in mind.
The most valuable lesson I learned during that first year is one I still think about five years later. I had a realization one day after catching up with one of my closest girlfriends from college who worked for an NYC advertising agency. I intently listened to her as she described her first-year struggles of trying to pay her rent on an entry-level salary in the Big Apple. After I hung up the phone, it hit me: the dream I once thought would become a reality was something I didn't want anymore. Because I had a new dream: to be an independent woman who can successfully live her life on her own terms. And that dream is one I will never stop chasing.