Sharing my University and Career Story for | Real Talk #5

Hello World! It is time again for some real talk and today I'm joined by *TheLadders. I was recently introduced to a project they are working on, where bloggers share their career search experiences and wisdom with recent college graduates. I'm sitting at my desk reading their email, my stomach drops. I'm not a college graduate! My brain starts turning up all these thoughts about my past and the choices I've made. Do I even reply to this email? Be brave, embrace your life choices! I answered.

*No compensation of any kind has been received from TheLadders. I am sharing this because I feel that the subject matter fits well with my Real Talk series and honestly believe services that TheLadders provides can be beneficial to many people!

It took me a little while to decide where to start writing, but I suppose the beginning seems most logical. In elementary school I was a smart cookie. I did my homework, I enjoyed reading and writing. I was chosen for my school's "Talent" program where every few days I, along side a small handful of other students, would be taken out of standard classes for higher-level classes and workshops. In middle school I felt a little more "average", mentally speaking. I didn't always fit in socially, but educationally I was right where I should have been. 

By the beginning of high school I started to feel a little more out of place both socially and educationally. I was made fun of on a daily basis, and my grandmother (who had come to live with us after being diagnosed with lymphoma) passed away. I had some friends, but to be honest I don't remember where they went during this time in my life. I felt detached and alone and I stopped caring about most things. I fell in with the only social groups in school that would accept me, the "goths" and the "druggies". I stopped eating and lost nearly 90lbs. I was failing my classes and many teachers thought of me as a waste of their time. 

Senior year of high school, my personal life began to feel hopeful again. Spencer and I had been dating for a couple years and I started living life and having fun again. Educationally I'd developed a laziness and carefree attitude (I was the total opposite of Spencer). I didn't mind a C- over an A, nor did I blink an eye after receiving 3 out of 100 on a biology exam, which literally made my teacher cry. My guidance counselors discouraged me from applying to many universities because they knew I wouldn't get in. I began to believe that I wasn't cut out for the educated life. I did not apply to any universities, and settled for a part time job with some community college. 

After enrolling in the local community college I found a program that worked with my state's university. If I finished my associates degree, I could immediately be accepted to complete my bachelors at the partnered university. This gave me hope, and the thought of it alone encouraged me to study more. By the end of 2011 I had one semester left before transferring from community college to university. My dad was really sick, which I pretended didn't bother me. He died at the start of finals week. My world crumbled. A professor asked for his obituary because she didn't believe my excuse. It was at that moment I gave up on school again. I was a smart person, and was sick of being made to feel otherwise.

Spencer and I moved in together about an hour away from our childhood homes. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I wouldn't be returning to school. To avoid the judgement I returned to the community college to switch my degree, which set me back a whole year's worth of classes and credits. My teachers were awfully discouraging. I fell into my same lazy spiral I'd developed in high school and decided to take a break after that semester ended. From there I enrolled in cosmetology school, which lasted a whole year. It was the most eye-opening (not all for the good) year of my life, which is another novel of a story!  I felt judged by close friends and acquaintances alike, who were busy growing their college social lives. I got this look when telling people I chose to break from college for personal growth. I have not returned to college, and I'm still not sure that I ever will. 

Life is going to throw hurdles at you. I think the biggest piece of advice I could give any fresh college grad is to just HOLD ON. I have spent months on end applying to even the most basic of jobs. You're going to get rejected. Don't let that deter you from your passions. Live your life day by day, and live with lots of love in your heart. You won't get anywhere with resentment. Keep your savings account plump, because you never know when you'll need some extra money. If you have to settle for the mean while in a job that isn't in your career field, do it well and take it seriously. Your hard work will show, and that resonates with people. Don't give up on what makes you feel passionate. Remember that out of all your patience can fall amazing rewards. My blog is one of those rewards for me.

Not only have I started a little community of friends with my blog, but it has opened the door to many opportunities that I would have otherwise not received. It isn't the most lucrative, but when it comes to life, I think money is the least important marker of success. I'm writing every day about my passions and spending each day loving a little more. How could I ever think I'm not successful?!

I want to send out a THANK YOU to for contacting me and for inspiring me to share my experiences on this topic. I hope that, if anything, this post can encourage someone out there to keep living and striving even when the road gets tough. What is your story? What would you recommend to a new career seeker? 
Much Love,
-Stephanie Eva

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