(45) The Class of 2020 — A Graduate’s Tale

Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

It was like the downfall during a roller coaster ride, the adrenaline felt so good, yet scary, but good scary.

I was graduating.

After three years of my bachelor’s degree, I was thrilled to get out there and pump some life into practical assessments I did pretending it to be real-life scenarios — the trill of the health industry.

I had had my piece of cake with the uni life, the deadline rush, exams stress, tiny tests that weigh more than they should anxiety attacks and even the social aspect of it, yikes. Making friends was not difficult for me — at least I think of it in that way since I have always been a chatterbox and gotten my way into conversation starters (and not the ones Sheldon Cooper defines them to be).

Seated at our assigned seat pre-graduation I was going through all these thoughts of how my first day at university went like, my first friends, what it felt like moving away from home to come into a new country I only heard of before, never known. The confusion of whether if I was glad it was finally all over or if I was going to miss this place and the homely feel it had given me this 7 per cent of my lifetime. Was I going to miss seeing my mates or glad I didn’t have to deal with some of them (I’m sure there’s always that handful, yes? Yes.)

Sad thoughts on a pause.

I will have a proper job! I’m going to be fully financially independent, pay my utilities (like I always did) and then cry about how many bills you have to pay as adults, I miss you, mum and dad!

The thought of a new chapter gave me the endorphins rush, so excited to begin a career well worked hard for (I did well with my uni grades and hence I was proud of that, little did I know).

I worked it all out, and there it was, my name and walked over to the stage did the curtsy and in 10 seconds it was all over. But that didn’t matter at all, I truly graduated when I walked out of that hall and saw my parents and the biggest smile my dad tried to pull off even though he can’t (ILY dad). My mum is known to be happy and to have the most contagious laughter, she was holding her tears back, she had the eyes of a proud mother.

I graduated.

The next couple of weeks I knew I wasn’t going to get a job immediately since I had to undergo working right transitions in the country i.e Australia and that I was an international student i.e Kenyan, therefore, my rollercoaster’s wheels were square. I worked as a casual at my previous job to keep the ball rolling, I had bills to pay, basically deal with our growing up expenses.

My efforts with trying to get a job did not thin, rather kept increasing by the number day by day. I was constantly motivated to trying out new jobs in the area and applied to several different branches into my field but wasn’t quite getting it all right.

Damn it. Okay, time for a resume fix. Did that.

Crap, I don’t have my working rights duh. Got them.

Maybe it’s that I am not applying enough. Okay, we’ll up the ante.

I still think my resume stinks. Fixed again.

I haven’t reached out to people. Went physically to clinics.

Updated resume again.

Am I that active on LinkedIn? Gave fresh touches that that, neat.

Someone help me with my resume! Paid AUD 140 to professional resume writers who replaced my current resume with synonyms and refused to refund since they didn’t believe their work was worthless at all.

The world got hit by a pandemic.

We all know what happened next.

I got laid off my causal job that paid my bills and was practically jobless for the next two months. First few days I found myself to be okay with that, I felt like I was on a short holiday but it didn’t take long before things went downhill too fast.

I was losing my mental strength, applying for jobs that would help me pay bills, anything. It didn’t even matter if it was in the industry it just had to earn me a minimum to run a household. Of course, that didn’t happen as well.

In a week or so I decided that I had to get on board with something to keep me afloat and so I signed up for online courses that I was super excited about in the beginnings but had to push myself to finish. I eventually did get to the- most of them. I decided to pick up on my blog again, which I was running since over a year now but had on and off phases with it.

I decided to come back to Medium again, which again I had signed up for in 2019 but slacked with my writing.

All those events were not in my past, I still have an anguished feeling about all that till today. It’s not a good thing to always look back to the past but what I see is not failures, its lessons. Lessons that not uni lecture was ever going to teach me, no job was going to pay me for the time and efforts I put into, regardless if it was seen or not.

Today, the restrictions have eased and I have still kept the job hunt on. Industries are opening and workplaces are hiring. I am getting the crumbs of it and giving a couple of interviews here and there but of course, I don’t have experience.

It hasn’t been a new concept to me, where employers and hirers are looking for someone with little more experience, ‘to take the company back up there again’. It’s a pity that only experienced people should be hired, the irony that no one hires “freshies” like me and still expect an experience.

It is a constant toll on how post-grad can hit you, I have experienced highs and lows I did not see happening. I believed after graduation it can be easier to land a job, with, of course, the right skills. But it’s always a tough hustle and everyone should be prepared for the worst, whatever the outcome at least you’ll be happy.

If it beats you to it, talk to someone. Someone who you trust to understand you, listen to you and help you with your journey if nothing then for the fact that one day you can say that in your tough times, it was them who gave you an ear.

I did that. It changed me.

I took up Medium and my blog seriously and started investing time into making worthy content, I got motivated to build a hustle on the side. Today, I stand where I have a strong urge to mention that I would make writing a full-time career if I will. It requires experience still, but it would mean that would be working on myself for myself, and not to tick checkboxes off hirers’ demands list.

A year later, when I would come back to this article I want to be reminded of my struggles and endeavours, not to compare but rather appreciate the minutest of things in life.

You have a story, Everyone has a story, This is my story.

Chapter — Class of 2020: Check.

To my 12-year-old self, fairy tales are beautiful, they are, but only when you decide that all things good are not always good. That bad is also good.

It’s always an opportunity.

Photo on Unsplash by Ian Schneider

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