20something profile: Stephanie
As I am sitting here writing this post for the Twenties Blog, it suddenly hits me that I have been out of college for a year. It is really crazy how quickly time flies. The past year of my post-grad life has been nothing at all like what I thought it would be, but surprisingly, I can say that I am happy and even grateful for that.
I walked across the stage at my alma mater, Oklahoma State University, on May 5, 2012. I graduated with top honors, receiving my degree in news editorial journalism with a minor in English. Ask me then where I saw myself a year later, and I would have confidently told you, “In New York, working as an editorial assistant at a major magazine.”
A year later, with 365 plus days of life experience under my belt, I am now well aware that life doesn’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Sometimes things turn out even better than you could have imagined.
This past year has been a whirlwind and full of unexpected twists and turns. When I came home from college, without the safety of a job offer under my belt like a lot of my friends, I decided to go back to working at a camp in Texas that had worked at a previous summer during my college career. Basically, I needed a time filler.
When I returned from camp, I was faced with the daunting reality that I did not have the full-time big, name magazine job that I had imagined. What made it worse was getting on every form of social media to find that my journalism peers, many of whom I had met while interning in New York while in college, had secured jobs already. I felt defeated.
After pouting for a few weeks, I decided to take action. My dreams weren’t just going to come to me, and comparing myself to my peers wasn’t getting me anywhere, except make me reach for Ben & Jerry’s every night. I needed a plan. I needed to get perspective. So I did.
From August through December, I went back to working at the retail job that I held part-time during college. At first, the thought of working retail again made my stomach cringe, but I reframed my thinking, sucked up my pride and told myself the truth “that this is only temporary.” Eventually, I got promoted to a lower level manager, which allowed me to start saving more money.
I also stopped getting on social media and comparing myself to my peers. Just because I didn’t have my full-time magazine job with the 401k plan yet didn’t mean I wasn’t good enough or something was wrong with me. I learned to root for my peers and take their victories as encouragement.
I also continued applying to jobs, but I changed my approach. Before, I was applying to any and every journalism or public relations position, even ones that maybe I knew I didn’t have the skills or interests for just because I wanted a job, any job. I learned to be more specific about my job application process and began putting more effort into fewer, more specific applications.
With a little time and perspective, I landed a 7 month editorial internship at Delta SKY, Delta airline’s lifestyle magazine and the most read in-flight magazine in the world. Pretty cool! So come January 2013, I packed up my bags from little Tulsa, Oklahoma, and made the move with my dreams in tow to Minneapolis.
I recently just finished my internship at Delta SKY, and while I had hoped for another 6 month editorial internship (maybe in New York or L.A.), my plans again didn’t go exactly how I expected, but I’m okay with that. I am currently at home freelancing and applying for full-time positions, patiently and persistently waiting.
What my first year of post-grad has taught me is this: life will not always go as planned. Expect the unexpected. Understand that life will not always be easy, but when you find your passions and pursue them with persistence, you are sure to succeed. Know that you will, on occasion, get knocked down, but what you do once you get knocked down is your choice. You can choose to stay down or get back up every time and keep pursuing your dream.
I never thought I would be where I am today, without the perfect, full-time magazine job. I am planner, a go-getter type of girl. In college, I worked at my college newspaper starting my freshman year. I freelanced for publications on and off campus and secured a newspaper or magazine internship every summer starting my sophomore year. I interned at one of Time Inc.’s publications in New York and even started a magazine my senior year. My point is, even with all the hard work and effort, my life still hasn’t gone exactly the way I imagined.
No job giving me a yes or a no defines me. In this economy, this lesson is pivotal. Be persistent and follow your dreams, but don’t let a delayed dream or a rerouting on your master blueprint shake your confidence. Keep going. I am so grateful for this past year of ups and downs, freelance writing, part-time jobs and internships. It gave me perspective, extra family time and some much needed persistence.
Feel free to check out my blog at: stephkt.wordpress.com!