Something quite wonderful happened to me today. As I was busily writing To-Do Lists on my phone I came across an old note from March 17th, 2014. During that time, I was a junior in college and still unsure on what majors/minors I should choose and drop. Here is what the note said.
“It takes a lot of courage to pursue your dreams but for once I feel like I’m doing that (deciding to drop out of my teaching program). It sounds cheesy but I just need to listen to my heart and do what feels right. It took me practically two and a half years to realize what I already knew I wanted for my future. Even though I feel like everyone expects something else of me I need to follow my heart, or else I’ll end up one day looking back on a wasted and unfulfilled life. Don’t live your life with regret. No matter how terrifying things seem you need to fight for your dreams and protect them, because they are valid and worth fighting for. I trust in God and that he has greater plans for my future than I do.”
This reminder, from myself, could not have come at a better time. In one week I will be moving to Dallas. Although it is still in Texas, I feel like my move from Austin to Dallas is a really big step for me. I’ll be on my own, paying my own bills, and living in my own apartment. It will be mainly for an internship at a Dallas-based magazine. Although the internship is unpaid, I am confident that this is the right direction I need to follow in order to move towards my dreams of being a writer/journalist.
I’m realizing more than ever that following your dreams takes tremendous courage. I struggled a lot over the past month (which you can read more about in my latest post on anxiety) on whether or not I should make the move, if it would even be worth it, and whether or not I should just stay in Austin and wait things out. And even though it is the scarier option, I chose Dallas. I’m choosing Dallas in the hopes that this new internship, at a magazine double the size of my past Austin internships, will act as a gateway to learning, experience, and hopefully new and better opportunities. It’s terrifying and exciting.
I hear from so many people that the period after graduating college and living-or rather “suffering” through working life is terrible. But then I hear from some that it is the most fantastic time in their entire lives. I think it all depends on how you wish to live your life. Choosing between following your dreams and doing what you love no matter the sacrifice (cough cough your wallet), or settling for something maybe a little more stable but a lot more lackluster. I’ve decided that I’d like to choose the former plan.
Although it is scarier, riskier, and may even seem foolish to some, I am choosing to take the route of the unpaid intern for all of the benefits that weigh greater to me right now than a steady income. Why? Because like I said a year ago, I don’t want to live my life with regret. I don’t want to waste my 20’s due to that first wasted opportunity. I don’t want to live a safe and predictable life. And because as many have said before us, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
So for all of you graduates fresh out of the class of 2015, who may be struggling, do not spend your time worrying like I did. I wasted months worrying, which got me nowhere. The only thing that got me somewhere was my determination and will power to continue fighting for my dreams. Even though the job market is horrendous and tough, the right opportunity is waiting for you. Don’t settle and be patient. Most importantly, when the opportunity does come around-take it! And then, work your ass off!