This is my first post for That First Year. And it is one of the toughest stories I’ve ever tried to write.
During my four years of journalism school, I never actually experienced “writer’s block.” If I got stumped mid-article or couldn’t figure out how to translate a thought from my head into words pretty enough that someone else would actually want to read them, I’d just come back to it later. I didn’t worry about it. There was no stress; I knew I’d be fine. Then always, after some time, the thoughts and the words to go along with them came and the story was complete.
When coming up with this story, I wanted to write something relatable. Something that someone who, like me, is just graduating could relate to, could laugh with and ultimately could feel a little bit better about everything after reading it. But every time I sat down to write, I entered this internal battle with myself. I wanted to be real and honest about my life post-Journalism school and I wanted my story to have a happy ending, a solution at the end.
I mean, doesn’t something like… Hi! My name is Meggie. I graduated two weeks ago and landed my dream job at a fashion magazine. I love it! I’m working with amazing, talented people, travelling, interviewing brilliant people and making the world a better place every day all while making enough to pay my expenses and more (like the brand new Stuart Weitzman sandals I bought for summer just because I could.)
…sound so much better than the truth?
My name is Meggie. I graduated two weeks ago and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life. I spend a good majority of days lurking LinkedIn job boards, only to realize I’m still underqualified for most of the positions and then crying because I feel like a failure. I’ve lived off grilled cheese sandwiches for the past week because I can’t afford to buy groceries until my paycheck comes from my part-time entry-level service industry job. My life feels like a joke.
The truth is, I’m struggling and I’m a little lost right now. I don’t have a magic solution to make myself feel better, to make my bank account multiply, to magically gain five years of work experience in a day.
But I’m not the only one. Neither are you if you feel the same. It’s a strange time in life and it’s perfectly normal to have no idea what you’re doing and to cry and feel discouraged when things don’t go as you hoped. What matters is that you don’t give up. I had an interview this week that went terribly. I walked out feeling like a failure and never wanting to do another interview again. But I biked home, had a cup of tea with my roommate and went right back on my computer to apply for more jobs.
I may not have it all figured out right now, but I know I’ll be okay. I’ll figure out my next move and everything will work out. In the meantime, I have an incredible support system that is there for me no matter what. I have friends who make me laugh no matter what. I have a boyfriend who brings me grilled cheese and watches Audrey Hepburn movies with me after a long night at work. And I have a mother who I can call any hour of the day and who loves me whether I’m working at McDonald's or Vogue.
Maybe it’s a bit like dealing with writer’s block. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t figure out, just be. Just like the perfect words will come when you least expect them to, life will start to happen before you know it.
As for right now, I keep telling myself it’s going to be fine. It’s like Clarence the angel says to James Stewart’s character in It’s A Wonderful Life:
“No one is a failure that has friends.”
[Photo by Chelsey Satterlee.]