After College Changes…

I feel semi productive that I was able to write both posts and schedule them back to back.  I always get frustrated with cliff hangers on blogs that last for 2-3 weeks.  I know patience is a virtue but it is a virtue I am not blessed with.  My lack of patience is actually important with this post though.

Here is part 1 of my college growth.

My final semester of college I spent interning full time at a health office in Oswego.  Then I was hired there. (Spending close to another year in Upstate, NY).  Long story short I fully enjoyed my job at Oswego.  It had everything I learned from community health courses, great coworkers, it was what I wanted to be doing, close to Syracuse, Rochester..ect.  I made a lot of friends there.  I hated the cold and weather but that had nothing to do with my job.  There was obviously one large part of my life missing from Oswego and that was my long term boyfriend.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that was 95% I moved.

At the Walk to Save Lives Fall 2012

At the Walk to Save Lives Fall 2012

Until roughly May of 2013, I thought I had my life completely figured out.  After making the executive decision not to stay in Oswego I moved home with my parents for the summer while Tim finished up most of pilot training.

I planned to spend the summer either interning at a health center or working.  I ended up working two jobs to save money to move to Texas (neither having to do with my community health major in college!).  Last summer I felt as though my college career was again a waste.  I was working jobs I probably could have done without a college degree.  They were just that…jobs to pay bills.  I knew once the summer was over I would be moving down to Texas and finding a job similar to Oswego.

So I thought anyways.

Sadly the area I moved in Texas didn’t have those jobs available and I certainly didn’t know what I wanted if those weren’t options.  The closest community college was 2.5 hours away and it’s obvious I don’t even like five minutes of driving.

Oh texas...little did I know I would be here 6 weeks

Oh texas…little did I know I would be here 6 weeks

I knew two things about my community health degree and possible job choices.  I didn’t want to work in a hospital and I didn’t want to work with babies.

Past that I had absolutely no idea and it stressed me out.  (In fact it still stresses me out).  Here I am a year out of college and I couldn’t tell you my exact dream job.   Since my stay in Texas was short lived (6 weeks) it wasn’t feasible for me to find a temporary job let alone a full time job.  (Thank you working all summer).

While I lived in Texas I began to think about my future and my thoughts about pursuing a job when I moved to NJ.  What did I want to do?  Apply to a college and work on campus like Oswego?  Work at the Red Cross?  Work at a nursing home?  I had no idea…all of those jobs interested me.

Since this previous summer I have grown even more.  This past summer though I still worked, I had no idea what I wanted to do the rest of my life.  It worried me.  It frightened me.  It still frightens me.  Do I have to make an executive decision of my career choice right at this very moment?  No.  I have to find a job that I currently enjoy doing and pays bills.

It seems we are asked the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question since we can talk.  I’ve gone from marine biologist to zoologist, teacher to community health worker.  How do we ever know exactly what we are destined to do?  I have thought a lot about the definition of successful and happy.  What makes you successful?  Having a job from the major you chose in college?  Making enough money to pay the bills?  Being happy?

My personal opinion is that being successful comes from doing something you enjoy, not stressed and being financially stable.  Whether that takes you in a completely different route from where you originally started then it does.

Might as well be happy right?

Might as well be happy right?  Look a community health center that probably has a job I would like. I guess I’ll just stop the marathon now.

I wish college had prepared me for that.  I wish someone in college had said there is a chance even after four years of classes you won’t know what you want to do.  You still won’t have it figured out when we hand you (mail you) your diploma.  You will never have all the answers in your life. Do not stress about it and you will find the answer eventually.  

Spoiler: Incase you wondered now (and I owe a post about Jersey) but I am happier right now then I have ever have been.

Question for you: How do you define being successful? 


22 responses

  1. “My personal opinion is that being successful comes from doing something you enjoy.” <– YES! Everyone defines success differently, and for me, it's doing what you enjoy and making a difference. Honestly, I'm still figuring out what I'm going to do long-term, and I have no idea where I'll be in five years. That's what makes it life, though, I guess–you have to live it.

  2. It takes time to find your groove! I found that the right company giving opportunities to try different thing is the best bet. I was a programmer in college and now I work with software development projects but in the preplanning and analyst phase. WHICH I LOVE. But it took a while to get here!

    I am so happy things are going well in NJ!

  3. I could probably rant on forever about how I don’t feel like college actually prepares you for life out in the “real world”… I’ve talked to so many people who’ve said that they basically graduated college with nothing but the paper their degree was written on. No clue as to what it is they wanted to do or how to go about doing it. I’m not going to go and say that 75% of what they teach in college is a waste of time, but… yeah… a little more emphasis on practicality definitely wouldn’t hurt.

  4. Ah girl, you hit the nail on the head with both of these posts. I would have loved someone to tell me that it was possible to graduate from college not knowing what you want to do with your life and that even if you have a degree in a field you like, it might not be the one for the you (read: teaching in my case). As much as I love the boys I take care of now, I know this is a one tim gig for me. When I’m done here, whenever that is, I have absolutely no desire to find another family to nanny for…but I have no idea where to proceed next either. Possibly back to school for an associate’s as a physical therapy assistant (makes sense to me since I visit them often and enjoy learning what they teach me haha), but maybe not. I like your definition of success. Financial stability and overall enjoyment of what you’re doing seems to me the best way to judge a successful career/job….I just hope I can figure out where that will be next for me when the time comes.

  5. If you ever want to talk public health let me know. I work in that field and while not in your part of the country would be happy to share information. There are a lot of different places to look for work and it can be very frustrating.

  6. Loved these two posts, lady! I am the same way–I changed my major 3 times in college. Managed to graduate in 4 years still luckily. But here I sit working full-time for my unit doing what I DON’T want to do….sitting at a computer all day. But I also don’t know EXACTLY what I want to do either. It’s a continuous journey.

  7. I wonder if someone had said to you those things you wish, if you would have listened to them, or believed them. I know I would not have. Like you, before I started college (university up here in the Great White North), I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I also thought I was good in math and stupidly made it my co-major. I learned real quick that I was not a mathematician. I had all this pressure from parents and friends that it was IMPERATIVE to get through school and get a job, and you picked your field of study based on what jobs were available, and popular.

    College is not a waste, even if your degree doesn’t reflect at all what you do for a living. The experiences in school are as important (and I’d argue MORE important) than the actual subjects.

    Your last statement is the most important, and it’s what I wish someone had told me: “You will never have all the answers in your life. Do not stress about it and you will find the answer eventually.” I have said these words to myself over and over, through many trials and tribulations in work and in life.

  8. I’m actually in a weird place right now because I have about 4 things I’d like to do with my life but I don’t know which one I need to major in and I don’t want to be in college for more than 4 years (I decided I was done with school my first quarter freshman year). Sometimes it’s just so frustrating to not have all the answers in life.

  9. I completely share your definition of success…and your lack of patience 😉

    Sadly, I stayed in academia so long because I was terrified of leaving it without some concrete plan or idea of what to do. I needed safety and security, but I knew that I would never, ever want to be a teacher or spend my entire life with my head buried in some dusty archive (or even digital archive, as most of them seem to be these days). I just sat there twiddling my thumbs and expecting to have some revelation, some ‘Eureka!’ moment but it never came. I still feel lost…I mean, I have some ideas of things I’d like to do but all of them have obstacles that I will have to work so hard to overcome.

    It’s really good to know you’re in a happier place at the moment 🙂

  10. Since I just graduated from college I really enjoyed this post. I will start my first teaching job in January, but I’m not sure if this will be the job I have for the rest of my life. I think there might be other things I might want to do more. I think it’s okay to be young and still not know exactly what to do. We need to explore the possibilities and enjoy life. I define successful as being happy with where you are in life. That’s it. Plain and simple.

  11. I agree with your definition of success. Of course I don’t desire to be pinching pennies but I’d be ok with having to do some careful budgeting if that meant that I had a job I LOVED. My situation right now is I live at home and make enough money to literally not have to budget anything because I don’t have many expenses. Most of my expenses are “fun”. I know I’m lucky but I don’t like the state where I live and I don’t like my job, so I’ve been debating taking a huge leap and moving. I’ve been looking for a new job but it’s hard to find one in a location you don’t already live in…I know right now I’m not where I want to be so I need to switch it up. But I wish I had some sign or epiphany that told me exactly what to do! Growing up is certainly hard. I look back at the post-college path I took of staying in CT and wish I’d done something different. Heck I wish I’d gone to college in a different state too! But I really can only make changes if I look forward..not back.

  12. I have been out of college for 2.5 years now. DO I know what my “dream” career is? No. The way I see it though, I am learning and growing every week. There are so many things in the world that fascinate me! I try to be the gosh darn best I can at everything I do and trust that if I continue to seek learning, and connecting with others I’ll find my way 🙂

  13. and that is why I opted for grad school…..AVOID THE JOB SEARCH lol
    no but in all seriousness, I had no idea what I wanted to do at graduation. I thought I did, but I’ve changed my mind about ten million times since then. Even now, I’m still trying to decide between physical therapy and chiropractic. I think honestly we’re still so young, there’s plenty of time to figure it out – mess around, try a few different jobs (you never really know until you’re in!) etc. don’t go to grad school and waste more money if you’re not 100% certain lol. It’s frustrating, but everyone experiences it! And also I would say, get used to the idea that not everybody has a “dream career”. you might have a job you like, or even love, but you might not ever have something that jumps out at you like “this is what I’m meant to do!”….and that’s perfectly okay, as long as you’re happy.

  14. I think being happy is the most important you can do for yourself in life. People are so driven by the almighty buck, that they work their life away. Nobody is ever on their deathbed, wishing that they worked more. I try to remember that when thinking about taking extra call.

    Good luck on your search, and I’m glad that you’re happy in Jersey!

  15. Loooove this post! But seriously, why doesn’t college prepare us for the “Oh I actually have to figure out what career path I want to take” part?! Haha I definitely had no idea what to do right after college and ended up working a job that was “fine” but I didn’t love it. I’m glad I took a chance and moved to Virginia because now I’m so so so much happier!

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