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I Was Lost And Unsure Of What To Do After Graduation

“Who am I?”

“What do I want?”

These are the crucial questions I have had to face this past year after college. They confronted me from the pages of the books I read to the mouths of characters in my favorite animated television series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

What To Do After Graduating College

In school I ran away from these questions. At the time it did not seem like I was avoiding them. After all, I searched for jobs and applied to some positions. I took the Meyers-Brigg personality test and job assessments to see what they recommended for me as an individual. I gave people advice and took advice from others. But through it all I felt a bit lost. I recognized intuitively that these questions were important, but I did not know how to answer them, which made me feel so vulnerable.

Vulnerability scares me. I associate it with negative things like exposure and humiliation. But sometimes being seen is the best option. It can ensure rescue, make room for honesty, and allow for connection. If I did not become vulnerable and face the questions and the answers they would bring, then I would be stuck in my confusion. I preferred to face vulnerability than stay safe but discontent.

Start With An Internal Search

In his book, The Job-Hunter’s Survival, Guide Richard N. Bolles reveals that the most effective job search method is to do personal inventory. I must know what I am looking for and how to properly articulate it in order to search and hope to find. When I began to study who I was through reading books on issues I was interested in and talking to trusted people, I began to feel more and more confident in general.

Once I understood my strengths, I could begin to answer the questions about who I was and what I wanted. I knew how to better relate to people and how to find jobs in which I was interested. Right now I am waiting to hear back about some postions, and I am looking at applying to other ones. Having options gives me hope. The options only came when I was able to see clearer who I am and how I can connect to the world.

I wish I had been able to have this kind of progress during school, but I guess I needed the extra time. I learned the hard way, but I’m seeing the benefits of self-reflection.

Faith Bell is a graduate of Kenyon College.

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