Tag Archives: Twentysomething

Making The Most Out Of It

Since I was a teenager I’ve condemned everything around me. In high school I hated my teachers, I hated some of my school mates, and I hated the school itself. Although I had a large group of friends and I had lots of fun, I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave that place to start fresh in another country. When I joined college the same thing happened. At first I was excited about the whole experience, but gradually I started to go back to criticizing my condition.

I don’t know why I do that; maybe it is the perfectionist in me that I am trying to get rid of. I’ve always wanted to be somewhere else, with other people, and living a “cooler” life. It doesn’t matter where I go or who I am with, I will be able to find a way to hate it. Maybe “hate” is a strong word, but I was not satisfied. I can’t say that I am 100% content with my life right now, but at least I am trying to adapt.

Currently I am in grad school to get my master’s degree and I am also involved in a startup company. I know that this is not exactly what I want to be doing right now, which is supposed to be studying psychology, but this is the only thing I can do. I don’t have a stable income that I can use to pay for four-years-of-private-college tuition fees. I am in a weird position; being a grad student and working on launching my friend’s company, it is kind of hard to explain to others your financial situation.

Sometimes before I go to sleep, I think about how I am not really living the life I wanted. But, I remember that I am simply stuck in this and things aren’t going to change any time soon, so why not make the most out of where I am right now? Why not get a master’s degree and work in the company until I make enough money to pursue my dreams? I think it’s okay since I am still 21. Our twenties is the time when we’re supposed to try different things and get to know ourselves better.

So, I promised myself not to say anything negative again about my current circumstances and just be grateful that at least I am doing something instead of being idle. Besides that I don’t have to give up on who I am and forget what I like to do. I can still write poetry and work on my first book along with doing all the other stuff. What I want to say is that if life forces us to temporary follow a different path we have to make the most out of it while staying true to ourselves and not forgetting who we are in the process.

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8 Lessons From My Post-college Life

My post-college life started a year and (almost) two months ago. There were a lot of expectations, a lot of plans, and a lot of surprises. I read my journal of the past year and summed up the lessons I learned so far. I would like to share those lessons with you if you’re a twenty-something college student/graduate.

1. It’s funny how life never turns out the way we plan it
Here’s a part of my journal

“…It’s a new beginning with a lot of opportunities. I feel excited and energetic. It’s the summer, but that doesn’t mean anything to me, right? I can’t just stay home surf the internet and watch TV! I have to do something; I am not a school student anymore. I have to find a job now! If I stayed inactive I’d get depressed…”

funniest thing is that eventually what I feared to happen became my reality. When I was a senior I used to say “I can’t wait for next year and all the great things that will happen (that I planned for)”. The thing is, you never know how or where you’ll end up next year. You can’t even predict where you might be tomorrow. Having plans for the future is important, but don’t be surprised when life messes with it.

2. Moving on isn’t always easy, but it’s required
Letting go of relationships or places…etc is important for moving on and being able to live the next stage of your life. When it comes to relationships with others, you have to know when you should let go. Don’t be upset if you feel that your friends are no more able to find time to hang out with you. Maybe this wasn’t a real friendship from the beginning, or maybe they are busy now and simply don’t see you as a priority. Bottom line is, don’t be shocked that others don’t treat you the way you treat them, just walk away while you still have your dignity.

3. Follow your intuition
I believe that life consists of events that happen in a specific order and lead to a certain destiny. Sometimes we don’t understand why specific things happen to us, or why they happen that way. Life gives us signs to direct us to the right path. And how can you read those signs? By trusting your instincts. That is not the same as listening to your heart or deciding with your brain. Your intuition isn’t emotional, nor is it rational. It’s something inside you that guides you through life. When you’re able to find it, listen well and follow it.

4. Stop saying “I think I’ve hit rock-bottom”, chances are you haven’t!
I don’t mean to be pessimistic or anything, but it’s true. There’s really nothing to say about it, but trust me, life won’t cease to blow your mind.

5. Sometimes the things you want the most aren’t destined for you
As I said in number 3, life will direct you to what is really meant for you. If something you planned for didn’t happen don’t be sad, be patient. I wrote in my journal

“…Don’t you think it’s a little weird? I mean I did everything a graduate can do! Right after I graduated I started to look for jobs and internships. I finished my CV and I sent it everywhere. I looked on the internet, I looked in the newspapers, I even applied for a volunteering job…etc. What did I miss?? I don’t know. I mean I sent my CV to companies, to schools, but I got rejected from an internship and no one wants to answer my emails or job applications…”

Now I think that this all happened for a reason and now I am a step closer to my real destiny.

6. It’s okay if you’re not ready for the real world just yet
When I first graduated I thought that I am super ready for joining the real world and getting a real job. When I faced the truth I just knew that I need some more time to adapt to the fact that I am now an adult and I should be living the 9-to-5 life. If you want to take a gap year, it’s okay to. Travel the world, meet new people, do crazy things while you still can.

7. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dreams
If you want to find your right path, you have to believe in your dreams no matter what the rest of the world say. If you don’t believe in them then how are you even supposed to accept yourself the way you really are, and how will you be able to listen to your intuition? Stop listening to those who don’t believe in you or your dreams. It’s your life, you know better than anyone else!

8. Stop worrying too much
Worrying constantly about the future is something I am guilty of. There were days when I couldn’t sleep because of it. Now here’s the thing, worrying doesn’t change anything! It only affects your health badly and might even stop you from actually doing something. That’s what I keep telling myself now so that I can stop worrying about what will happen next and instead focus on what I should do next.

Finally, remember that life is an adventure; we live, we learn, and we have fun.

Wish you all the best!

20something profile: Ola

My 20something profile on “20somethings in 2014”.
Check out David’s inspiring blog where you can find different people in their twenties sharing their stories of college, graduation, finding jobs…etc.

20somethings Blog

the-road-not-takenThis post was written by Ola, a 21-year-old girl from Egypt:

I graduated college in June of 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Since my graduation, I’ve been nothing but a lost soul searching for its real purpose in the world and the true meaning of its life. At first, I was like any other college graduate looking everywhere for a job or rushing to apply to as many grad schools as they can. It went on for about six frustrating months until I realized I was moving in the wrong direction.

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How A Year Of Unemployment Changed Me

Today marks the end of my first post-college year. I’ve been through the hardest and most confusing year of my life. I first thought that this is the worst year ever. I felt that I’ve hit rock-bottom and there’s nothing lower than that. The only question that went through my mind day and night was “Why?”. I kept wondering why this is happening to me. And why me?? I mean look at everyone around, they’re all busy doing something useful in their lives. I am not a lazy undetermined person who just wants to stay at home all day watching TV!! I am a hard worker who wants to accomplish something. But as everything else that happens to us in life, this was just another experience. It was a massive bump in the road, but it wasn’t for nothing.

I’ve already mentioned in a post before the story of how I ended up like this. Today I want to talk about what I gained from going through such an experience. A year of unemployment right after college sounds like a nightmare that a person can get nothing blessed out of. But I did. I’ve learned maybe the most important lessons of my life so far.

I’ve spent the majority of this year in solitude. You can imagine how hard it can be to transform from an active college student with a fairly good social life to an unemployed isolated adult. No you can’t! You can’t unless you’ve been through it, or something similar. It messes with your head. It makes you depressed and unable to think clearly, or sleep peacefully, or want to wake up in the morning. It was a psychological turmoil. I can’t write about my emotional ups and downs in details because it will take me a whole post to do so, but I can only tell you what I got out of it.

A break for my mind 

I was very busy during the last year of college. Most of the day was spent in classes, and at night I would stay up till late hours to study and finish required projects and papers. I rarely had time to relax. And even during my free weekends I’d probably go out somewhere with family or friends, and that somewhere is probably a crowded place because I live in the city. I was so used to the fast noisy busy city life, which made my staying at home kind of a trauma to me. At first I didn’t know what to do with my time. I have no schedules and no deadlines to meet; I have no structured days. It made me think about our lives and how we live it. This was a break for my mind. It allowed me to see that there’s more to life than being busy 24/7. It taught me that we need to relax and have fun. It was good to take some time off the stressful days. I had more time to do what I like, and even learn new things. I started catching up on the books I had on my to-read list, enhanced my poetry-writing ability, learned baking and improved my cooking, started learning Italian, and of course started this blog.

Spiritually rewarding

Another thing I was able to do is reflecting on my life. Given lots of free time, I had a chance to do a lot of thinking about how my life has been so far, the wrong decisions I made, the mistakes I learned from, what I really want to do with my life, and what should be my next step. It was a spiritually rewarding year.

Peace with my person

I spent most of the time alone (I didn’t have another choice), and that allowed me to get to really know myself better. You think you can know who you are from others’ opinions of you, but that could be far away from the truth. We all have some kind of a dark side that we might not be aware of. Spending our time being busy working or hanging out with other people doesn’t give us the chance to confront the dark depths of our personality. By hanging out with myself I was able to make peace with my person. It wasn’t easy at first, not the least, but eventually we became best friends.

More understanding and less judgmental

Being an unemployed fresh graduate put me in an awkward position. When my friends ask me that annoying question “so what do you do now?” the only answer I have is “nothing!”. But that’s the short answer; the real answer is a long story that I can’t keep telling every time someone asks me that question. This taught me that sometimes we don’t know what others might be going through; we don’t know everyone’s story, so we shouldn’t make assumptions based only on what’s apparent for us. I learned that I have to be more understanding and less judgmental of others.

Things we take for granted

Losing almost all the things I cherish in life was one of the difficulties I faced this year. However, it made me appreciate every little thing I have and every small blessing I’ve been given. There are lots of things we take for granted in this life, and I had the time to look around me and observe these things and be thankful.

Finally I would say that as much as this year was hard, it was a fruitful experience. What comes to my mind when I think about it is a quote from Batman Begins movie that says “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

The Pity Party Is Over!

It’s been almost a year since I graduated college, and it hasn’t been an easy one at all. When I first finished college, I was so excited about what the future holds for me and I thought I will conquer the world. Little did I know that I will end up unemployed, separated from my family, losing my social life, and confused about every single decision I’ve made.

I graduated on the 25th of June, 2013. I had plans set; finding a part-time job while going to a  grad school. I knew what I was doing with my life and how exactly it’s going to go. I applied for a graduate school, and I was sure to get accepted because I worked so hard during senior year to get a high GPA. Most of my college professors and teaching assistants expected a bright future ahead of me, even my college mates did. I had the world at my feet.  Suddenly, everything changed and I no longer knew what I was doing.

When I was writing a draft of my statement of purpose for the graduate school, I stopped and put the pen down. I stopped to question everything. Why am I applying for this graduate school? What is it that I have to offer to the Computer Science field? I had no idea how to answer those questions. It was the moment that I remembered how I do NOT like this field, and it’s not what I want to do with my life. Then I thought it will be crazy to change fields, and I should just stick to computer science. I moved back to the country where my family lives. I applied for a job at one of the schools there. It was a boring desk job that I quit two days later.

After that I thought I should better continue my studies than get a job right now. I decided to go back to my country and apply for grad school in the college I graduated from.  I thought it will be easier for me as I am already used to the place and I know the teaching staff there and maybe they will help me to find what I should be doing in this field. So I flew back to my country. At that point, things seemed promising.

I applied for a new master’s degree program at my college. I cancelled my application in that other college because I knew I wasn’t going to be accepted. I mean I couldn’t even write a proper statement of purpose. Anyway, I waited for a reply. Then the program launching was postponed to fall of 2015. I was doomed; I had no plan B!! This meant that I had to wait a whole year!

I didn’t want to get a job in the computer science field. I don’t want to sit in a cubicle all day doing what my boss telling me to do. I also couldn’t apply for other graduate schools because at that point it was past the application deadlines. So I just curled up in a depressed ball and shut myself away from everything and everyone because the real world didn’t turn out to be the way I pictured it.

I felt that I am a victim of circumstances. I felt that I lost control of the stirring wheel, and I didn’t know where life was taking me. I couldn’t pinpoint where I went wrong. I started thinking hard and deep. I listened to  my heart and tried to understand what it’s trying to tell me. It was telling me that I should start doing what I really want to do. I thought and thought for a long time until I realized that what I want to do is to study Psychology. I want to be a psychologist. It’s been something that I wanted to do since I was a middle school kid. I have no idea what happened, but it seems that along the way I forgot that this is what always intrigued me. Then I decided I will quit the computer science field for good.

I started looking for good psychology schools where I live to apply for. I found few, but I don’t have money to pay the tuition fees for four years. I told my family about my decision to switch fields but I got a reaction that I wasn’t expecting. They thought it’s a stupid idea to start from scratch in a field that is not exactly one of the hottest right now (especially that I already have a bachelor degree in computer science). Then I knew I wasn’t going to get any support, neither financially nor emotionally.

I got even more depressed. I started reflecting on my life and I found that I am losing everything. I have no job, my future is hazy, my friends are busy with their careers and lives, my family is living in another country, they don’t support my decisions, I started to gain weight during the last few months, I stopped exercising, I don’t take care of my health like I used to, and nothing was left for me except a degree that I don’t know what to do with.

After many sleepless nights and rough lonely mornings, I decided to stop this. I decided to gain back control of the situation.  I want to be the same girl I was in 2013. I want to be healthy again, I want to set goals and reach them, I want to be optimistic, to be active, to be alive! I promised myself now that I will do whatever it takes to fulfill my dreams. I will use my degree and the skills I have to get a job even if I don’t like it; It will be temporary until I have enough money to pay my college fees. Then I am going to study psychology. I will not let circumstances control my life, I will do something about it.

Yes, I am jobless, lost contact with all my friends, can’t see my family, have no idea where I’m gonna be next year, but my life is great! I know that I sound now like a naïve princess from a Disney movie, but it’s true.  I did learn a great deal during this past year. I just want people to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is always there, but we can’t see it if we kept looking down. So negative thoughts, I am gonna have to ask you to leave because this pity party is over.