Endless nights. Senior Project. Stress. D-Day. More stress. Senior Thesis Presentation. Anxiety. Great! You got an A and graduated college with a honors degree, now what?
That was me right after I moved my tassel from right to left. I was LOST. Nowadays we have normalised this ‘lost’ feeling so much that it feels just right to pay a great amount of money for a piece of paper which you have no idea what to do with. Well, not everyone might be lost right after their graduation. They might have plans to start a master’s degree immediately, or start working etc. This might put a little bit more pressure to you who have nothing planned. But, again, let’s normalise this feeling and be okay with it.
Back then, I was seeing my family’s happiness on my graduation day, but deep down I was feeling as a failure. I had just a round ticket to work as a cashier for the summer in US and that’s it. The only thing I was sure about, was that I didn’t want to go back to studying right away and I knew that my family couldn’t support me financially for further educations. The good thing is that I moved to US for summer the next day after my graduation, so I was pretty busy packing rather than being sad or depressed about my life.
My goal for that summer was to make and save as much money as I could, in order to be able to handle financially any decisions in my life. As I was working two jobs during summer, I was actively looking for internships in Belgium. I wanted to start an internship there because my boyfriend was living in Brussels at that time. I passed all the interviews with a company, to only get an email after 3 weeks that they couldn’t support me with the documents. As an Albanian, you are born with a disadvantage of having an non-eu passport. I don’t know for how long I cried that day while skyping with my boyfriend but looking from the ‘future’, I am glad things didn’t worked out. I eventually spent 2 months in Brussels after the summer, and I really didn’t like the city. The language barrier was another issue as they have three official languages and I speak none of those.
I kept having interviews with different companies in Europe but, again the paper work would require 3–5months and no company was willing to wait so long. I was accepted for an internship in Valencia, Spain which I was very looking forward to, but I had to pass through some offices in Albania in order to get the Erasmus funds. That’s where I lost all the hopes because I know how corrupted my country is. Every time I was calling the office, they were saying that they were expecting fund from EU while the offices in Brussels were emailing that they had already given the funds. It was what it was, and it wasn’t meant to be so I started working full time in Albania.
I enjoyed the time in Albania, because it gave me time to actually think of my next moves and be pretty selective. I applied for only 1 university in Canada for master’s degree. I went all in, and I made sure that I would get my tuition covered. After lots of emails, I found a supervisor who was ready to fund my tuitions but I had to change what I wanted to pursue. I refused his offer as I was not willing to live somebody’s else dream. I couldn’t compromise what I wanted for a full tuition. TBH I was not scared, because deep down I knew exactly what I wanted. I went 3 extra miles emailing different professors, and I finally found two amazing supervisors who I am truly grateful for.
To all the soon to be graduated, I am not saying that feeling lost is okay, because I am not trying to write a petty article to comfort your feelings. Just focus on what you really want, and do not compromise for anything because in the end of the day, it will be you sitting on a desk hating yourself while pursuing somebody’s else dream. Take your time to figure shit out and don’t rush to applying to different things because you want to escape your current reality. You’ll end up losing time catching falling stars while your goal is shooting for the moon. Stay focused on your GOALS.