How I Got My Life Back on Track

The Coronavirus pandemic could not have come at a worse time for me. I was a junior in college, just starting to figure out my future. I had a job so that I could save money to move out, and I had a prospective internship for the summer to figure out if politics was a field of interest. In March of 2020, I lost them both. I moved back home and finished my junior year online. I was a year out from graduating with no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. 

At the start of the summer, I applied to many jobs in my hometown. From a sales associate at Bath and Body Works to a team member at Jamba Juice, I applied to anything and everything I saw on Indeed. I needed a job so that I could start making money again. After weeks of no responses, I became frustrated and discouraged. I eventually gave up and decided just to enjoy my summer (as best as I could in a global pandemic). 

At the end of July, I checked UCI’s Study Abroad website to see if they had opened their peer advisor applications. I knew that I wanted to become a peer advisor the minute I got back from studying abroad in England, so I would check the website multiple times a month to see when applications would open. When it finally opened, I sent in my application. A few weeks later, I received an invitation to interview for the position. I was extremely nervous because I wanted this job so bad, but I also knew that interviews were not exactly my forte. I had my friend, who is an expert at all things career, coach me on interview strategies. Although her tips helped, I was pretty confident that I would not get the job. It was a competitive position and I did not want to get my hopes up. 

women during interview Pexels / mentatdgt

In the midst of applying to jobs, I decided to try to figure out how I could find the right career for me. UCI has an alumni network where you can connect with UCI alum. I used it to find alum who had careers in fields that I was interested in. I wanted to ask how they got started and the details of their career. I reached out to one woman who is a screenwriter, and while it was fascinating to learn about, I realized that screenwriting was not for me. After exhausting all my options on the alumni network, I emailed my cousin, who works in politics. I was curious to see if she had any advice about how I could figure out whether or not politics is the right field for me. We talked over Zoom about how she got started in politics. She eventually told me that the political action committee that she founded was hiring interns for the fall. She sent them my resume, and after a brief interview, they offered me the internship. 

Not long after, I received an email from the Study Abroad Center, offering me a peer advisor position. I was ecstatic and frankly, quite shocked. I immediately accepted. At this moment, I felt as if my life was starting to come back together. 

I must admit, two months into my job and internship, I still don’t know what I’m going to do after I graduate college, but these two opportunities have provided me with new knowledge and skills that I can apply to whatever I decide to do in the future. I guess everything does happen for a reason. 

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