My story is that of the typical millennial. My parents raised me to believe that I had there was only one path to success: college. They heard the same message that many parents have heard. If you want your children to be successful, they must go to college.
At a young age, I worked hard and got into one of the top boarding schools in the country. I planned to go to an elite prep school, and from there, I would be able to achieve my real goal, getting into an Ivy League school. This is where I hit my first roadblock. I was no longer the smartest kid in class. I had never had to make an effort to be successful before, and quite frankly feeling like a failure made it almost impossible to try. I coasted through high school and gave up on the Ivy League portion of my dream. I still knew I was college bound, and everything would be all right.
Fast forward to graduating from college. I had just had some of the best years of my life. I had made some great friends and adopted a dog, Lily, a deer headed chihuahua named after Lily Potter’s Patronus. It was amazing. I walked off that stage so happy that I was done, and that’s when the panic set it.
I had almost a hundred thousand dollars in student debt and no job prospects. Despite having been told over and over about the realities of debt, I had no context for how much money it was. Until this point, the most expensive thing I had ever paid for was a $250 mattress from an overstock site.
It was time to get serious and commit to adulting. I needed a job that paid enough for me to eat and to pay a little over my monthly payments. I got offered a job as a sales associate for a furniture store and thanked the gods. I would have days off during the week to continue to do interviews at a place more suited to what I wanted to do while still paying the bills. This was when it all went downhill.
The problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to do, so there was nothing to work towards. Instead of trying to figure out what my goals were, I settled in comfortably into life as a sales associate. It was horrible. I never had time to see friends, I never had the same days off as my significant other, and because my pay was 100% commission based I never knew if I could make ends meet.
After about three months, I knew that I had to leave, but with no plan, I felt trapped. Having no money and no idea what else I would do, I let myself settle into this life as a sales associate. Despite how awful it was, knowing that life would be the same day in and day out was comforting. And yet, the knowledge that I was wasting my degree and had no idea what I would do to change that took over my identity and infected everyone around me. I had become a black hole. Unsurprisingly, I burnt out. After a particularly bad day at the store, I decided to give my two weeks notice. Immediately I started to feel better and noticed that my anxiety about my future had begun to subside.
I found a new job at a law firm and once again, I learned a new job. I was so happy with the new position. I had my work, I did it, and I went home with no one verbally assaulting me (at least at first). There was still stress and a few bad days here and there, but hey, what job doesn’t have its share of stressful moments? In fact, the whole thing was okay. It was good enough to get me through the day without hating my life or ruining my relationships.
It was okay.
It was okay.
It was not okay. The thing is good enough just isn’t good enough. Working at a job that didn’t fulfill a fundamental goal or resonate with a higher purpose just wasn’t going to cut it. I was determined to not fall back into the depression that enveloped me before I started researching. I read books. I reached out to people I admired. I did a lot of soul searching. I switched jobs, and I started this blog. Through my search, I have been able to help those around me get clear on their goals and understand how to make their lives match up with what’s important to them. I am here to help you create a path from the education cliff and make sure you are living the life you want.
©Mary Ann Linares