When an Unfamiliar Place Starts to Feel Like Home

It all started the day after graduation, when I woke up one morning with the realization that I am twenty… and unemployed. This everyday thought went on for about a month, each day slowly  filling me with more doubts, fears, twinges of panic, and a few doses of anxiety.

Then came the question, “What am I going to do with my life?” I was scrambling to find the answer to this question because really, what am I going to do with my life? I was 20 and unemployed, and although in legal definition, an adult, I was still young and confused and unprepared. Sad to say, even after earning 187 units of math, science, philosophy, arts, social science, humanities, and communication courses, and well a college diploma, I still cowered at my relatives’ persistent questions regarding my future plans.

To make it all worse, I started to see posts from my batchmates celebrating the fact that they just got hired while I sat there and drowned myself in potato chips and thought, “Wow. They must have their life figured out” followed by the crippling question, “What about me?”

Late nights were spent overthinking and at 2AM, when the world was peacefully asleep, I would stare at the ceiling and wonder where the eighteen-year-old me, who was so excited to graduate and seemed to have her life all figured out, had gone.

The excitement I used to feel about the future had been replaced by incessant worrying. My head was filled with questions like, “Did I take the right major?” “Did I do enough in college to prepare me for this?” “Am I cut out for the real world?” and so on.

But at some point, in this existential crisis, as we like to call it, I managed not to let the crippling fear paralyze me. After much contemplation and a little bit of pep talk—because, really, sometimes that’s all you need—I pushed myself to the real world.

Believe me, the mere act of going out there was challenging enough, but imagine how much harder it was facing rejections and answering the same old questions over and over to different interviewers, all the while still filled with so many doubts. But I knew that I just had to push through and keep going through this thing called adulthood – head strong – because I can’t allow myself to be stuck. As unsure as I might be of where I’m going or how I’m going to get there, it was still better to make a move than to be stuck in one place forever.

In doing so, I just woke up one day and it was like the sun finally came out after long hours of rain and a bright and iridescent rainbow was on the horizon.There were three job offers waiting for me. I was filled with overwhelming joy, and after much deliberation, I finally decided on one (with my fingers crossed that I made the right choice).

Fast forward: I’m here to tell you looking for my first job wasn’t easy. Landing one was tough. And to actually work for the first time was nerve-wracking yet exciting at the same time. This wasn’t like my previous internships or part-time jobs. I had a lot more responsibility and thus greater accountability, heavier workload, and less room for mistakes. I had to think and adapt so much faster because I couldn’t expect to be spoonfed. To be confident and tougher because things won’t always go my way. To be proactive and do more than what is necessary, because the job entails me to do so.

But thankfully, despite all my initial doubts and lingering fear of screwing things up in work or not doing enough, I am one of the lucky ones to say that I am enjoying my first job. Despite not knowing my exact destination yet or how to even get there, I am taking on life one step at a time, making sure that I am doing things that put a smile on my face at the end of the day; something that, despite all the stress and panic moments,manages to make me feel thankful for this life.

Because when I spent my entire Friday night at a production house instead of going out with my friends or lying in bed at home; when I first went out for movies as a midweek stress-reliever with my officemates, had our weekly jogging session, had a talk with our company’s CEO about the ups and downs of life as an adult; when my officemates became not just people I go to work with, but people I could call my friends and who I can find comfort in talking to about personal issues; when I found people who made me look forward to even the littlest things like lunches or dinners during overtime; when I witnessed a project our team worked so hard on come to fruition; when I was given the lead role for my first project; when I first had inspiring conversations with one of my bosses who offered to mentor me; when I finally met my favorite childhood OPM band for work; when I got competitive for our annual Halloween party; when I easily roamed around the office and knew exactly where what I was looking for was; when I finally knew all the names of the people in each department.

That’s when I knew that a once unfamiliar place was now home.

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One Thought

  1. Ralph Sy Siong Kiao says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Ma’am Tricia. The Horizon of Possibilities is within your reach. Warmest regards from a stranger.