The Truth Behind My First 'Big-Girl' Job

When you first start out in college, it seems like everyone around you has their life together with a 10-year plan in mind. Don't get me wrong, it can be a great thing, but it’s not necessarily realistic. Coming into college, I was 18 and the closest to a real job I'd had was volunteering for my city's community center during high school. I was extremely fortunate: I'd never been pressured to work while in high school, and looking back, doing band full-time would have made it nearly impossible. I didn't worry about having never worked before, until day one of freshman year.

It pains me to say it, but the Hermione Granger complex is very real and very alive. I'm not talking about the waving of the wand or the Gryffindor robes. I mean the absolute need to succeed, be the best at academics and all around just have your life together. Not having a job when everyone else seemed to made me feel as though I wasn't doing my best. In high school, I felt on top of the world in every area. I wasn't bothered by entering college jobless until one of my professors gave us a talk about the importance of employment, in any capacity, throughout college. I had always assumed it was better to get relevant experience than easy experience. Oh, how naive I was. It never dawned on me that there would be tremendous difficulty in job searching on a campus that is home to 65,000 (and counting) students. I knew my resume lacked experience, and I especially knew that not having a car would hinder me even more.

For the next while, it always nagged me in the back of the head that finding a job was the number one priority. When you're in a panic to find a job, you can sometimes forget to apply for things that will make you happy. You see a "hiring" sign and immediately it's like the Hunger Games to apply. You never stop to think if it's a job you actually want to be doing.

I’ll admit: I’m not the best when it comes to understanding the value of money. It was for that reason I was adamant I wanted to work in college so I could become much more financially aware. However, just because I wanted to work, didn't mean I wanted to feel like I was racing against time to do so. I interviewed for things I had no experience in and others that I knew I wouldn't do well. I started to just get in the mindset that I was only doing enough if I was working. That’s not true in the slightest. For some, working in college can be nearly impossible due to everything else they have going on, but that seemed to slip my mind.

When everyone else around you seems as though they have it all going for them, it can be hard to remember you are doing just fine yourself. Celebrating small achievements while job searching is important. You got the interview, but you didn't get the job? That's okay. Think of the practice you got in interviewing for when you go out again. I started feeling extremely discouraged around the time when I got my 10th "no." It was my first "yes" that made it all worth it. 

There is nothing wrong with you if you're 20 and have never had a "big-girl" job. There is nothing wrong with you if you are 22 and you found that all your internships have shown you that you don't know what you want to do. Everyone moves at their own speed in college. It is important to apply for things out of your comfort zone, and especially the ones you don't think you'll get. "No" is a two-letter word, and it's the worst possible scenario when it comes to applying for jobs. If there is one thing I've learned, it’s that getting my first "big-girl" job at 20 does not mean I have failed.

Images 1,2,3,4