Mar 23, 2021

Balancing Work, Family, & Relationships

WORK

The most common thought graduates have is that immediately after graduation, they’ll land the job of their dreams and live happily ever after. Although some students land their dream job, others are stuck wondering what they did wrong to not get so lucky. There are 3 common problems college graduates face in their job hunt. 1) Lack of experience. College is the perfect time to gain as much experience as possible in your field of interest. Do volunteer work, network with your peers/professors, apply for internships and get involved on your campus. 2) Unrealistic expectations. Don’t rush the process. Anything worth having takes time and patience. Aim to work diligently at accomplishing your dream job goals. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others and their career journey because everyone’s growth happens at different times and according to God’s plan. Everyone’s timing will be different because each person is different. 3) Lack of clear direction. You’re not alone. Many college students and people in general are unclear what their passions are and which path they would like to take. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing! Dedicate time each day to figure out what you like, and what goals you have. What is something you enjoy doing and can’t see yourself living without it? Give yourself time to make mistakes and don’t be too hard on yourself. You are growing, learning and evolving.

FAMILY

“The people you love are the people who hurt you the most.” Many of us might have heard this phrase before. During and after college, my family and I experienced a domino effect of family drama. We were each battling our own demons and took our frustrations out on each other. We weren’t communicating as well as we ought to and we weren’t trying to understand each other’s feelings or perspectives because we were too stuck on our own. Sound familiar? When one of us had a hard time whether it was emotionally, financially or spiritually, the rest of us had one or more obstacles to follow shortly after. Domino effect. Like many people, I’ve always put my family first. So much so, that I would put my plans on pause, so that I could be around to support my family’s needs; therefore, it resulted in my unhappiness and at times resentfulness. For example, after I graduated college, I had job opportunities in other states. I had the chance to start my dream job in Miami, Los Angeles or New York. One of my closest family members urged me not to go because she didn’t want to be alone. Although, I don’t regret being there for my family member, it led to me not getting the job that I dreamt of. As I got older and had more experiences, I realized that I allowed my family to be at the forefront of my mind so much that I neglected myself and didn’t ensure my happiness. It’s amazing to love your family and to care for them. Just don’t allow that to be your reason for putting your dreams on hold! You can have the best of both worlds.

RELATIONSHIPS

Through all of this hecticness in school, work and family, I somehow managed to stir up a tiny bit of strength to go on dates. That’s right, I said it! DATES. Going out on dates allows people to see the different personalities, conflicts or potential conflicts that can arise in a relationship. Before going on dates, love yourself and who you are first. If you don’t love yourself, how can someone else love you? Don’t seek others for validation because the only person who can do that is not only God, but yourself. Love your flaws and embrace them because they’re what make you who you are. For example, if you are someone who often thinks and speaks negatively about yourself, write positive quotes on index cards and tape them to your mirror, your bedroom wall, on the kitchen fridge, everywhere. The more you see it and say it, the more you’ll believe it and the more confident you’ll feel about yourself. Knowing who you are and loving yourself is the most important step before getting into any relationships.

LESSONS LEARNED

Experiencing all of these hardships fresh out of college was exactly what I needed. I needed to see what my life could encounter apart from school. Before now, I experienced mostly problems within my control. As a graduate, I went through the uncontrollable such as the job hunt, transitioning into corporate, losing a job, making more money, getting my first apartment, dating more, having unsuccessful relationships, stacks of bills and I’m not talking about the benjamins either. Looking back on the past few months of my life after college, I can’t help but be grateful. Honestly, if I didn’t go through what I did, I wouldn’t be able to tell people about it and help them. Or at least give people a chuckle or two. When I look at the world around me, I realize that this is the beginning of a new chapter. I’m much more at peace than I’ve been in months, found a job I love, and I’m healthier mentally, physically and emotionally too.

My advice to you is this: Don’t let the uncontrollable situations stop you from going after what you want and achieving your goals. Things aren’t always going to work out. You’re going to cry sometimes. You are going to struggle in one or more areas of your life. But, that’s okay. Just because the situation may look bleak up close, it doesn’t mean it isn’t working out for your good behind the scenes. Stay encouraged and keep fighting because change for a better future is within your reach. As I like to say, it’s always a beautiful day to make change! The change starts with you.

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