*Alternatively titled: What I Would Tell My New Postgrad Self (read this summary I wrote right after I graduated)* Somehow, an entire year has passed since the day I graduated from college. If that’s not an indication that time doesn’t exist, I don’t know what is! The past 365 days have been extremely stressful, exciting, painful, joyous, depressing, hopeful, and so many more feelings in between. And while it seems like the year went by incredibly quickly, I’ve accomplished and experienced so much within the time span. Just as I shared my advice for college freshman me after graduating, I wanted to celebrate the past year with another reflective summary collection, this time highlighting all of the main moments since May 18, 2019.
The first two-three months of postgrad life felt like I was on a carefree summer break where I had nothing to think or worry about. Of course I missed my Baylor friends, but I returned to Waco with my dad in June to pack up and sell my apartment, so I got to see them shortly after leaving the first time. Once the summer started to wind down (aka middle of June), I began aggressively applying for any and every available job on Indeed and Glassdoor, updated my LinkedIn profile daily, searched for jobs on my favorite Hawaiʻi nonprofits’ websites, and even accepted help from a recruiting company (essentially the main summary of my postgrad time). While I couldn’t find anyone to hire me, I began working as a sports writer for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (where I still write about football and other high school sports and also clerk during the week!) covering mostly Division II high school football twice a week. The first two games I covered were stressful and scary, but once I found my groove, I fell in love with the job. Every Friday and Saturday I drove (sometimes with my parents) to high schools all over the island to track play by plays, keep a running list of player stats on each team, live blog game scores and highlights for Hawaiʻi Prep World, write a summary and recap for the newspaper, interview coaches and players, and write feature stories about certain athletes or position groups for the online prep site. I loved every minute of every game and stayed on top of all my duties and responsibilities (aside from that horrific time I went to Nanakuli instead of Farrington for a game and missed the whole first quarter!!). Those two months of my postgrad tenure were some of my most rewarding and exhilarating!
After approximately 100 jobs applied for/resumes uploaded/emails sent and several disheartening interviews that ended with me being ghosted by almost every employer, by late August (apart from my time at football), I was spiraling. It didn’t help that Brandon left me for Europe and Asia for two months and I wasn’t seeing a therapist or being open with my family and friends about my thoughts and how I was feeling. At the beginning of September, I wrote a fairly dramatic and extremely dark journal entry about how alone and depressed I was feeling since graduation (I still clash with my depression, but thankfully I haven’t felt that bad since then). I didn’t know how to adjust to being back at home with my family after living alone for four years, I was surprisingly homesick for Waco, I missed my Baylor friends, and I felt completely unwanted and not good enough. Right after writing down my brutal thoughts and feeling as though I would never be fully happy again, I found my now therapist before I spiraled any further. When I wasn’t covering games or writing monthly articles for Go Kapolei and Go Kailua magazines, I shelled up in my room and slept and cried for most of my days. I lost interest in all of my favorite activities and stopped seeing my friends regularly. My thoughts on those months only feature darkness that seemed to envelop me.
Thankfully I was pulled out of my dark sad hole when the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii hired me exactly four months after graduation. I was going to be an Outreach Specialist and Pro Bono Coordinator providing free civil legal assistance to people who couldn’t afford the help. I was so excited about my new job and then…I quit three months later (if this isn’t a summary of postgrad lows). Life is always crazy with your girl! My two supervisors were fantastic. They treated me with respect, were always excited to hear my ideas, and brought me to conventions and conferences where I got to meet more amazing people in the legal field. Unfortunately, the work I was primarily focusing on wasn’t at all in my interest and started to take a toll on my mental health once again. One of the most important aspects of a job is the office culture (something I didn’t know beforehand), and I couldn’t seem to adapt well to the one at LASH. Because most of my coworkers were a decade or more older than me, I didn’t have any close friends I could eat lunch or talk with (immensely grateful for all of the lunches I shared with Megan and Dad!) and much of my time was spent sitting at my corner cubicle listening to music or writing. And while I love doing those two, I felt isolated and lost in my job and I was once again extremely unhappy. Once my misery became overwhelming, my parents, sister, and therapist encouraged me to look for other work opportunities. I was full of anxiety at the thought that I would quit a job in only three months, but before I could immerse myself in preparation to leave, my current job at OPD became available and my supervisors hired me within days of interviewing (and the summary of postgrad highs)!
Brandon eventually returned from his international gallivanting, I began spending several weekends going out with Conor and Parker, therapy became a weekly appointment, my family and I gave each other grace during the transitional periods, and I started to feel happy again. Much of my current joy is due to my job at the Office of the Public Defender. Of course, no job or workplace is perfect, but I’ve been extremely happy there since I started in January! The office is full of local people who I connect with easily, I met and became close to my dear friend Moriah before she returned to Boston, my work feels meaningful every day, the PDs I work directly under are constantly willing to teach me more and they value me, people talk to me constantly (the opposite of my last job), I get to have a hands on experience in a career I’m passionate about, and I have many friends I look forward to seeing every day. I don’t dread going to work anymore and I don’t feel alone like I used to. Many people aren’t as lucky as I am to work in a place where they feel content and passionate, and I know my job pulled me out of my scary darkness where I wanted to do and be nothing.
Newly postgrad me would never have anticipated the struggles and fortunate experiences I’ve had over the past year, so if I could tell her anything after receiving her diploma, I would share this lengthy summary about what I went through and how I’m still here today. I can’t believe how much has changed since I walked across the stage, and I didn’t think I would miss my old life as much as I still do. Thankfully, I have my family, Hawaiʻi and Waco friends, freelance sports writing gigs, and (finally) a job I truly love. Although I wish I wouldn’t have had to live through the devastating parts of postgrad, every moment since I left Waco has made me who I’ve become today. Here’s to the past year!