To the Mid-Twenty-Somethings,
This can't possibly cover all of the struggles and challenges twenty-something year olds deal with everyday but I can start by sharing my own and hope that you relate and find comfort in my advice. I hope to even find comfort by sharing. We work our whole lives to be educated. To one day be a college graduate. But what for? Because society puts pressure on us to do so. Because having a Masters or PhD will put you ahead of someone who "only finished college". Since when is it okay to put down someone who has "only finished college"? What a world.
I can tell you one thing: Nicole Pinkham, MBA hasn't really put me ahead. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm being paid relatively equal to people without that credential. What has a MBA gotten me? An increase in loans for one. Am I bitter? No. I love school and I wouldn't trade staying to get my MBA for the world. It was one of the best experiences of my life. What does suck though? It took me nine months after graduation to get a job. The same job I've been at for a year and seven months now. A career path I didn't anticipate going down but here I am, everyday, wrapping my head around it, building my resume to hopefully get the job I really want someday.
Don't get me wrong. I am utterly grateful for the job I currently have. I was unemployed and overwhelmed, facing down student loans and completely mortified. This was the only company to actually give me a shot--which was truly confusing for me. "Work hard on you education", they say; "Get great internships and share your experiences on your resume", they say. Catering and Sales Marketing intern with TD Garden, Boston Bruins Foundation intern, a published thesis and a part-time job with CBS Radio as a Mix 104.1 Street Teamer and there I was--kicked from college life, thrown into adulting, with no job in sight.
And I know I'm not the only one to face the job search struggle. So many of us deal with these feelings of working so hard, just like your told, and then feeling like you get nothing in return. I see friends from high school that didn't go to college that are way better off than me and it's shocking but awesome to see. Education loans literally ruin passions. I don't want to come off whiney because I know how lucky I am. My parents paid for my brother, sister and I to all go to private high school which was a true blessing. My experience at Arlington Catholic made me who I am today and gave me some of the best friends a girl could ask for. However, when it came to our college education, we knew we'd all be paying for it.
I see so many people having to put their passions on hold because of loans, including me. I see my co-workers that have such talent but can't afford to explore them to the fullest extent. I see a comedian, a photographer, a wedding planner, a coach, a writer that can't pursue things they love because they're bogged down with loans. There is so much we can't accomplish with the pressures of debt hanging over our heads.
Do I ever get jealous of my friends that have no school loans? Yes, 100%. They will never have to deal with the anxiety of making sure you make enough money so you don't miss a payment. They are able to support themselves. Get their own place. Go out on the weekends to fancy places. Maybe even buy a new outfit or pair of shoes. They are lucky. But I am also lucky. I am learning how to save money. I am understanding what it takes to have three jobs. Not that people without loans aren't doing these things because I'm sure they are. I think they're just financially ahead of us at this point. I am starting to believe that one day loans will be a distant memory (yeah, maybe if I win the lottery). Sigh, adulting.
And then there's the whole marriage and babies thing. I couldn't be happier for all of my friends that are engaged, married, or having children. Looking at them, it is comforting to know that one day my love for someone will turn into that. But for now, I will attend their weddings, drink too many glasses of champagne, and sing my heart out to some Backstreet Boys and NSync. The things we live for at 25.
So what I'm saying I guess is that 25 is just a weird age. Your kind of no longer relate to college life but you also don't relate to real adult life. We're all just "adulting"--the in-between, the struggle; getting up everyday and maybe doing something you don't love but have to do. Not just financially exhausting but mentally exhausting. Constantly wanting things. There are so many things I want (a job I love, to make enough money to not have to worry about my loans, to move out, to get a new car since I'm still whipping in my '98 Ford Taurus from high school, to someday be married) but those, like so much more, will have to wait for now.
My advice is to just take everything one day at a time. Find an outlet for your passions so they don't burnout and become forgotten. Ya know? That's why I blog and coach and probably even why I continue to do promotions--because they're all things I love to do and they make me happy. That's what is important; being happy. Things I've also learned? Don't take your friends and family for granted. Everyone has their own struggles. Support each other. And also, don't feel for everything you see on social media. The successes that come to some people or how exciting they make their lives out to be should not impact you. We're all here for a reason and whether or not we've realized our purpose yet or will ever realize our purpose--I can promise you there is a reason! My most important advice? Just worry about yourself. And I'm not saying that in a conceited way but truthfully, that's what I do. It has helped the anxieties of wanting "that life" die down and has helped me focus on my personal goals.
Putting these words out there is already making me feel better and I encourage you all to do the same. And with these words, I hope you all find something that makes you happy. Don't let loans, marriage, or "that life" overthrow your passions. Believe it or not, there are enough hours in the day to devour the details for a little while!
All my love,