After graduating from college, I did what I believe most students do (aside from road tripping across America with my college friends). I went home. I stayed in my childhood home for three weeks, though if my parents had their way I would stay longer. Within those three short – or long, depending on your point of view – I achieved absolutely nothing. Falling back into the comfort lull of my home (no need to cook, clean, or even change out of my PJ’s unless I was meeting someone later in the day), I would sit on my bed, watching old episodes of Mad Men while playing Candy Crush. And while yes, this might have been a necessary nothing after finishing college, it certainly was too long of a hibernation period – at least for me.
Then I left home for my thankfully paid summer internship.
What a world of difference! I have several major projects going on. I’m redesigning a directory and I’m creating an annual report out of scratch. While I never did any InDesign before, it’s incredibly exhilarating! Having things to do! Programs to learn, projects to finish, deadlines to meet. I feel so much more alive than I did while sitting at home doing nothing. Having things to do makes me want to do more. Even when I’m off the clock, I’m on Youtube learning more InDesign techniques or browsing through magazines to note which layouts are the most effective.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the comforting lull of nothing, especially post-graduation. After the gowns are returned and the diplomas hung up, you feel an odd sense that something big happened, and yet everything is the same. And if you’re like me and still haven’t obtained that job just yet, it’s equally hard to motivate yourself to apply for yet another pile of potential job openings. The past few weeks taught me that when you have nothing to do, it can make you feel depleted and defeated, like a balloon slowly letting all its air out. Next time I’m in such a situation, I’m going to grab myself by the bootstraps and do something. Anything! Even if it’s as small as painting a picture or grabbing my camera to go on a street photography adventure. Or getting out of my pajamas and into the street! Who knows what’s waiting out there when you decide to stop waiting for things to happen to you and instead make things happen.