A friend/former student stopped by my office at Curry College recently. He graduated last year, but he lives in the area now, so he stops in from time to time to say “hello” and to update me on what he’s doing.
He has always been an upbeat sort and firmly believes that his dreams will come true. I share that belief.
But the perceived flurry of positives that he experienced shortly after graduation has slowed down a bit, and he’s starting to get a little worried. Not freaking out worried, but worried nonetheless.
This latest visit was a “reassure me it’s not me” type…he needed to say what he’s been doing so that he could hear the words and so that someone else could hear them as well and give him feedback.
As we wrapped up (I had to scurry off to my “Principles of Public Relations” class), I reassured him that he was doing all the right things but that he has now hit that dreaded “hurry up and wait” stage that we all suffer through at some point in our professional lives.
Throughout their college lives, students are told time and again that deadlines are sooo important. “You’ll lose a letter-grade if you don’t turn your assignment in on time.”… “No work accepted after the deadline.”… “If you’re late, you won’t get credit for participating.”
And then the real world steps in.
The student/new professional does what he or she needs to do or is told to do as quickly as possible and “turns the work in” only to be met with dead silence on the other end.
What we haven’t been able to clearly communicate as teachers/advisors is that the “real world” doesn’t always operate on the same schedule as you’ve gotten used to in school. Potential employers don’t get back to you the next day with a response. People who previously expressed an interest in you suddenly are focused on something or someone else.
It’s confusing. It’s worrying. And you’re not sure what to do next. So a bit of advice…
…curl up in the fetal position and start sucking your thumb. Won’t do you any good, and thumbs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be anyway!
…start banging your head against the wall wailing “why me?”
…shut down completely and start blaming yourself for something that, for the most part, is out of your control.
…take a deep breath and review what you’ve done so far…anything missing?
…look in the mirror and tell the person looking at you “we can do this.”
…turn to your support team…friends, former teachers/advisors…and talk it through. Ask for…and listen to…their advice and opinions.
There’s not a magic answer here, but one thing is for sure…
You’re not in this alone, even if, in the darkness of the night, you feel that way. There are others who care about you and who are standing by to offer a reassuring shoulder to lean on.