Funny enough, no one has asked me to give a speech at a graduation yet. The closest I came was doing some of my songs at my senior class luncheon in high school. So since I don’t have the honor of being the speaker everyone wishes would shut up so they can get the graduation over with, I’m settling for this post.
Graduating college is amazingly fun and horribly frightening at the same time. You feel good for finishing what you’ve been working at since age 5, but now you have to get a job. If you sleep in and miss class in college, someone can give you notes, but if you sleep in and miss work, you will not be eating.
It was hard for me when I graduated because it was in the height of the recession and no one was hiring. I had no luck. For over two years after I graduated, the only job I was able to land was parking cars at a hospital in my college town. I interviewed as much as I could and tried my hardest, but no one was hiring. I was frustrated at the economy, God and myself.
I think if I could give one piece of advice to you new grads, it’s this: Give yourself grace because life rewards take longer after college.
All through your life you’re rewarded each year for what you put your effort into. You did the work, now you get to go on to the next grade. And you move with your peers. Everyone is equal if they do the equal work. Different grade point averages don’t really matter because everyone is getting to progress the same way with the same reward. But when you graduate, it changes.
Your friend may land an amazing job and you may be stuck parking cars. I was so frustrated because I had so many friends who got awesome gigs, but I just didn’t have the connections like many of them did. I needed to give myself grace, and I didn’t do it much.
I can give you tips on how I got jobs, like saying, “Go to events and network as much as possible. Don’t waste as much time applying to jobs online.” And I think it’s good advice. More than anything, though, you must give yourself grace.
You never know which experiences you are in now will matter much more in the end. I just recently landed the best job I’ve ever had. When I interviewed, I spoke on my experiences and stuff I learned from the last few years, and they said that’s why they hired me out of 50 other candidates. I don’t say this to brag; I say this to show you that what you think doesn’t matter may actually matter greatly. It just may not matter yet.
This applies beyond jobs as well. Life in general can take its sweet time getting you to where you want to be. It frustrates me even now. We want our rewards much faster than life is giving them out.
Give yourself grace. This is a mad, mad world and we’ve all much more to learn.