|2007 Graduation - I have a Master's!|
One of my favorite summers was the one between graduate school and moving to St. Louis to start my first professional position. The one where I was unemployed. I did not get a job offer until the first week of July, and then did not start my position until August 1. So May through August were spent just hanging out in Ames, Iowa. And it was exactly what I needed.
|My ELPS cohort - the best people I know|
I got into a lovely daily routine. I would wake up naturally around 8:00 (to the sunshine and fresh air rather than an alarm clock, what?!), and drink my morning coffee and eat a bagel while watching The Today Show or reading a book out on my deck. At 10, I would head over to the gym for a daily workout. Did I mention that I was the skinniest and healthiest that I have ever been that summer? It certainly helped that I was eating nutritious meals at regular meal times because I had the time and energy to cook (Taking care of myself - who knew?!). My apartment was also spotless, which is not exactly something I am known for.
I would typically spend a few hours searching for positions, submitting job applications, and following up with potential employers. I made a point to set the time aside, but didn't let it consume my whole day. Afterwards, I might head to the public library to pick up some more books, to the farmer's market to get some fresh produce, or I might decide to hit up a matinee movie. It was that summer that I discovered I actually enjoy going to the movies by myself. And I read a lot of books. A lot. Plus, I enjoyed those last few months that I had with some of my closest friends. This was leisure, and I liked it. I was okay with being a stay-at-home person, at least in the short term.
|Phil and Me. He worked with me at the call center too that summer.|
I feel it is important to share that I am not saying unemployment is easy or fun. I applied for well over 60 jobs that summer, and only heard back from a fraction (maybe 10?). I had a total of three campus interviews. And I am thankful that one turned out to be the right fit for me. If I hadn't gotten the position by the end of July, I would likely have had to move home with my mom and sister. That would have been significantly more stressful, and a lot less leisure. But thankfully, I found my new home in St. Louis. I was searching for just a few months, but I understand that for many, unemployment can be much longer and more painful. I am very grateful that I did not get to that point of panic.
|The day that I picked out Bucky and brought him home.|
I share this story mainly for my friends and sister who are going through their search process right now. Know that it is okay if you do not have a job before graduation. Not many of us did, except for the crew looking at live-on positions. Also do not feel like you have to take something that is not a good fit just to have a job by June 1. There are many positions that will not post until later in the summer - many individuals in those entry-level positions are searching right now too, and their position won't post until after they accept something. If there is one thing that I have learned along the way, it is that hiring processes take a LONG time. Be patient. And, of course, if you do find that you have a little bit of time in between graduation and your first job, make the best of it. You may never have another chunk of time like that in your career to just enjoy yourself. If you are anything like I was in graduate school, you probably need time for some self care too.
You are almost done. Enjoy this last semester, and congratulations!