Exactly four years ago, my mom and I were driving down the 5 with a car full of Room Essentials and a mixture of emotions that included my excitement and my mother’s anticipation. I had no idea what the next four years would bring as we made a right onto University Dr. and smiled at a group of students who were sporting I ❤ APU T-shirts and greeted us with an anthem of cheers while carrying a sign that read “Welcome Home.”
I had never anticipated what the past four years would bring in which I feel so incredibly blessed to call Azusa Pacific University my Alma Mater. Now, four years later, I am a college graduate with a similar T-shirt tucked away into my closet and a college degree to my name. I had never understood what post-grads meant when they said, “Life won’t go according to plan” until now. So, to the one who is trying to navigate through this taunting journey of which they call “the real world,” these words are for you.
After landing my dream internship at World Vision and spending the past 7 months there, I was certain that I would continue on to work in the field of International Development. That was not the case. The door that opened has led me to working in for-profit at one of the largest Ad Agencies in America.
For the past four years, my schooling and every Internship that I have been a part of has set me up for the creative field of Marketing. My right side of the brain is firing at all hours of the day, and I was excited to finally take all of those skills to even a larger scale. However, life has decided to shift gears and now, my left side of the brain is in full operation as I work on the Ad. Ops Team at Saatchi & Saatchi L.A.
I have watched as my friends have moved back home, or are working two to three jobs, and we are all asking ourselves the same question: How do we manage Post-Grad life? What/where is my purpose?
You see, for the past 17-18 years of our lives, we have been a part of a school system that has shaped us and developed us into who we are. And, now, all of that has been taken away. Looking in the mirror, you come to the realization that you are on your own, darling.
That can be a sobering thought. But, the matter of it is this: Post-grads, we are not alone. Yes, life may not have gone according to plan. That smile that you so gladly wore as you walked across the stage and received your diploma might have been exchanged for stammered lips and a confused brow, but you and I must know that we are not alone.
During my Senior Seminar class, we discussed creating 5-Year Plans and whether or not it is worth doing so. After discussion and brief thought, I commented, ” I have found that no matter how many plans I try to make, God always seems to make a better one.”
I was reminded by a friend that God knows the details of our lives, and with the right attitude, we can seize all that we can from the current place that we are in if we so choose. God knows the beginning to the end, and He is the first and the last.
My commute to work is an hour and a half, one way. I am currently occupying an 11 year old’s bedroom. And, I am not working in Creative/Content Writing, an aspiration that encouraged me through every All-Nighter and 30 page paper during my time at APU. However, I am full of joy. There is a change in my skip, and my friends, it all has to do with the realization that God is enough and that He is in full control.
The phrase that echoed throughout my classes and my time at APU was this: Be a difference maker. It was easy to accept this motto when we were surrounded by Christian values and beliefs, and we were a part of friend groups that were heavily involved in on-campus or other non-profit organizations. With whatever background in education we held, we were certain that we were going to have a hand in changing the world.
It wasn’t until I found myself at my new job, sitting in a conference room full of innovative thinkers and doers whose mindsets and values are completely different from my own that it all hit me.
Four years a go, I lit a candle amongst 1,000 other Freshman. It symbolized our four years at APU and the beginning of an incredible journey to discovering who we are as as Christ-centered individuals through scholarship. The night before I graduated, I once again joined with that same group of people and lit a candle, a beautiful celebration of the light we were to be in the next/new chapter of our lives.
Today, this symbolic ceremony has etched itself into my thoughts.
Be the light in an ever-increasing dimming world. Your light shines brighter among non-believers. Your light is seen and felt by those who surround you, if you so let it. Post-grad life may not be going according to plan, but as you continually set out on this journey with your Father in Heaven, know that there is purpose in the place that you are in.
Whether you have moved back home to your childhood bedroom, or have embraced the journey of married life. Whether you have landed your dream job or have found yourself working at the same re-tail store that you worked all throughout college. Whether your commute is 20 minutes or 2 hours. Whether you are 1,000 miles away from your Alma Mater or just a couple blocks down the road. Wherever you are, be the light. Darling, know that there is purpose in this season, this time and place if you so allow it.
Find your purpose in God, rather than your job, your relationship status, or your living arrangements. Seek Him first and pursue the Kingdom of God, in whatever way God is asking of you, and you will begin to see the details come together in due time.
Carry on, post-grad.