I never knew how difficult post-graduate life would be. Four months after my amazing graduation ceremony at a prestigious university, medicine I found myself still searching for a legitimate way to fund my independence, pills skin-care splurges and eating out habits. A year on, more about and I am still yet to find a sustainable source of income, however, I have learnt an endless amount of lessons about positivity in the face of an ‘unemployment’ status and bank account that is basically starving. To keep in line with the values of female empowerment and solidarity that LAPP so poignantly promotes, I thought that it is only fitting for me to share my journey thus far, and reveal how I have dealt with the post-graduate life.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that I have heard the question, “What are you doing now?” I am not even going to front like this question has not triggered my emotions. To be fair, it is one of those questions, that is often delivered behind well-meaning intentions, by people who supposedly care about me and only want the best for me. But, I have to tell you, when that question is asked at the end of a day full of rejections, it can be highly frustrating. The key, I have learnt, is not to take such a question personally.
In fact, there are loads of things that should not be taken personally and I think ‘rejection’ is one of them. In your search to achieve greatness in your field, rejection is bound to come. It can feel discouraging, but there is hope. I have learnt to view every rejection as an opportunity to be better. In the first few months of my job search, I found it extremely hard to cope with the ‘We regret to inform you’ comments. Nowadays, it somehow gives me room to grow in perseverance. It compels me to think about what kind of working life I actually want to pursue.These days rather than dwell on it for days on end, I simply smile, and then plot the next move.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be proactive. If you really really want something, you have to go and grab it. Seize every single opportunity. I realised that I had subconsciously told myself that waiting for opportunities was the safest option because it meant I avoided rejection. I thought if I just wait on an opportunity, it will automatically come. I have discovered that this is far from reality. I often tell myself in the mirror, ‘You know what…if you really want it…go out and get it’.
Earlier last year, the movement MovetoBoys2016 encouraged young women to shamelessly pursue men, rather than wait for men to pursue them. Now, the success of this movement will be left for another discussion, but I do petition to use this same mentality with regards to seeking opportunities and networking with people. I call for a MovetoOpportunities movement where we are not afraid as young women to put ourselves out there and seek out the opportunities that we want.
There are opportunities everywhere. Recently, I had the opportunity of attending a ten-day workshop hosted by the Bauer Media Academy where I managed to gain practical, hands on experience about the industry that I want to go into. I finished that course with a wealth of knowledge, experience and connections with like-minded people who are also striving to be better at what they do.
Being broke and struggling has given me a fresh perspective on life. It has taught me so much about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and all the bits in between. I hope that this article leaves you with some encouragement, but if not, I will leave you with the opening lines from one of my favourite songs. “There is beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success”.
Written by Juliana Onyenani