During my senior year of college, I started the post-college job search early. I took my resume and cover letter to the career center on campus to make them perfect. I got in touch with mentors in big cities all over the country to network and get tips on my job search. I applied to a ton of jobs and did interviews. I even made business cards...
Though when I went to a practice speed interview session during the spring of my senior year, one of the interviewers asked me what I wanted to do with my public relations/marketing degree. I said some horrible rambling answer like, "I'm interested in traditional PR, but I really like the creative side of marketing, and also social media, I could do events too, or advertising, or magazines. I'm also looking for jobs in Southern California, Arizona, Texas, or North Carolina. Maybe New York, but I don't know since it gets cold there. Ha!" The interviewer's feedback was to focus in on one thing and to know exactly what I wanted. Because, according to my answer, I had no idea what I wanted exactly. But what did I want?As graduation got closer, I started getting stressed about finding a job and the perfect place to live after graduation. I was open to moving to pretty much any big city in the US, but that would require money to move, and a job to get the money to move. I was afraid of the unknowns and being tied down to a single city.
One day I was going through my study abroad photos and the travel bug within me started acting up. That was it. I wanted to travel. I wanted to go back to Europe. What time is better than right after graduation? I didn't want to be tied down to anything - not right away, at least. This Rachel Wolchin quote really resonates with that moment:
"If we were meant to stay in place, we would have roots instead of feet"
There's nothing wrong with finding a place to start your life after college, but I knew that there was so much more to see and to learn from the world and I wanted to take advantage of the timing to travel before settling down.
My parents were definitely not on board, since I didn't have much money saved up to take a big trip, nor would they fund something like that. They told me that, well, if I found a job in Europe where I could travel and make money, then that would be a better plan.
And that is exactly what I did.
I ended up getting a job in Europe where I lived in Italy and traveled to different countries almost every weekend. I was doing marketing and tour guiding, learned a ton from the experience, and was able to improve my skills in an international setting. I found a job that I loved, and while it took a lot of time and dedication to make it happen, I didn't settle for less. I finally knew what I wanted - to travel and inspire others to travel too. (And I still got to put my degree "to use.")There are so many ways to travel after graduation, and if it's something you truly want, then figure out a way to make it happen. Whether you're just traveling for fun, working, or volunteering abroad, there are a number of ways to do it. If you can find something that aligns with your career path - awesome. If traveling makes you reconsider your original chosen career path - even more awesome. Your 20s are the time to figure out who you are and what you want, and for those of you with travel dreams, that can't happen when you settle for something you're truly not interested in.
This was originally written as a guest post by Ally Archer on Alter Apathy.
Photos: We Heart It