Last year, around the exact same time as now, I wrote an opinion piece titled: “I’m graduating and I have no regrets.” Toward the end of this piece, I said I had no idea how I was going to set a foot in my journalism path, and that “I’m still going to fall in every pit and make every mistake there is possible, but I am going to reach it.”
Little did I know that I’ll literally really fall in every pit and struggle to get where I want.
My year after graduation has been tough. I recently wrote an op-ed about it titled “Post-undergrad disappointments”, and yes, there were many of them. Everyone around me who graduated the same year worked full-time, even if they weren’t fully satisfied with it, and because journalism is very competitive and the sector is dropping overall, I wasn’t very successful in working at what my dreams had hoped for, which was CBC or The Globe and Mail—and yeah, I know that dream was way too ambitious for a fresh graduate. I worked as the managing editor of The Medium, and it was great, but with it being a part-time job, I wanted more. I couldn’t get myself to switch my field in order to find a full-time job though, because I believed and still believe in my passion toward journalism, and I know I will get there someday.
Instead however, since November 2017, I decided to make the best of the academic year by writing down points that I wanted to either change or work on myself. That included improving my leadership and networking skills, and to end the year with an acceptance letter to master’s in journalism.
Jump forward five months later, I can safely say I can check these points off my list. I did end it with my acceptance letter from Ryerson University to the Masters of Journalism program.
This year, as I now recall back to it all, has been a blessing. I spent a huge portion of it stressing and worrying, sometimes even depressed because of the disappointments, but it has taught me what I wanted to learn, so I’m grateful—for my work as the managing editor of The Medium and the networking I’ve done, and the politics I’ve involved myself in outside the newspaper too. The team this year at The Medium though, the family we made, the stories we covered, the articles we edited, the leadership skills we enhanced—they were all, indeed, a blessing. Although it took me time to realize the value of the challenges this work brought along, I wouldn’t trade it with anything, because I understand. I understand that it taught me what I couldn’t have easily learned anywhere else. Now I don’t even know how I’ll leave this place after two years of working here and another two years of volunteering for it.
Once again, just like I ended my last year of undergrad saying I had no regrets, I end this academic year saying I have no regrets. Just like I said last year, I’ll fall in every pit but will take the challenge, I’ll repeat it again: I—hopefully true this time though, unlike last year—really am ready for it. I’m ready for the next challenge and the next chapter of this life.
And so should you.
I’ve said it before and will repeat it now and for as many times in the future as I can: do not make university just about your grades. It’s much, much more than that. Most of you get this chance once in your life. Value it. Make the best of it. Go out of your way, challenge yourself, do something you never thought you would, ask questions, challenge yourself again, set goals as high as possible, don’t let go of your passion, never close the door for your dreams. Just don’t waste it. The post-undergrad life isn’t usually easy, as cliche as this sounds—it’s just not. You’ll always find competition and luck playing for or against your way. It’s challenging. But if we believe it’s possible, we can do it. You can do it. Don’t be afraid of believing in what you want to do with your life, even if everyone around you tells you it’s crazy. Believe that if you have a passion for something, combined with will, commitment, and hard work, there’s no way you won’t get there. Believe that it takes endless trials before you give in to the errors and accept if it’s not meant to happen.
I realize that we waste too much time worrying about our future, and it’s okay. I don’t know how to change that either actually. But while stressing about your future, at least make sure you are not missing on the chances of the present. And always, always, re-generate the positive energy in yourself. That’s how you’ll get where you want. That’s how you’ll become the person in your dreams.