I can’t believe it’s already been almost a year since I graduated.
This time last year, I just remember being happy as can be. Of course I was constantly stressed with school as I was wrapping up my last semester, but I had just been accepted into the Hinckley Institute of Politics Internship Program and was planning to intern with a top-ranked lobbying firm in Washington, DC after graduation. I was also at ease when it came to my financial situation, and I had developed a closeness with my little circle of girl friends. I also had a new boyfriend who I had fallen for so quickly that it was almost scary. So I guess I could say that life was good.
I never would have expected that a year later, I would not be in DC anymore. I had planned on looking for a job, but while I was out there, I really had a difficult time networking. I applied for over 100 jobs and didn’t get one interview. I am still completely in love with the city and I promised myself that I would go back someday. Interning there was the most rewarding experience of my life and it really opened my eyes to what the world of politics is really like, and the opportunity only enhanced my interest in the career field.
Now I’m back in Salt Lake City, interning for Mayor Ralph Becker’s office for 25 hours per week, and conducting statewide public opinion polls for Dan Jones & Associates for 35 hours per week. For the past several months, it has been really hard for me to accept this situation. I thought I would have a job by now. I thought I’d be making money. But I know I really shouldn’t complain, because at least I’m still doing substantive work and I was planning on going to Law School anyways. I was just hoping that I would be getting related experience and making pretty good paychecks while I studied for the LSAT. Instead, I’m really struggling to pay off the debt I accumulated while I was in DC and I have gained about 15 pounds over the past couple of months from the stress. I probably cried almost everyday. Not even kidding. I had probably never been so sad in my life. This may sound stupid to any other recent grad, and when I look back at it, it seems like such a petty thing now. But I can’t even describe how horrible it was for me to be working 60 hours a week, only getting paid $9/hour for half of them, $2500 in debt, and 15 pounds overweight when I had expected so much more for myself. Maybe I was expecting too much, but it was hard not to when I thought I had done a good job and made wise decisions. Also, in comparison to other people I graduated with, my progress just seemed to be stagnant.
I’m really lucky to have had my boyfriend Branden to offer me support during this difficult time in my life. I know it got frustrating for him, because sometimes there wasn’t anything he could say to make me stop crying or saying stupid things. But I probably wouldn’t have gotten through it if it weren’t for his patience and his willingness to be there for me.
I’ve always believed that attitude is everything and that you’re in control of your own happiness. But for some reason, I was just in the worst funk of my entire life during that several months and nothing could make me feel better. Negative and self-defeating thoughts still cross my mind from time to time, and sometimes I regret decisions I made in the past that I can’t do anything about now – but all in all, I know crying won’t change anything. I know I just need to take it one day at a time. Things will get better if I keep working hard. Hopefully a year from now, the things I was worrying about won’t matter and the hard work I’ve committed the past few months will pay off. I really shouldn’t worry so much, because I really do have a lot to be thankful for.