My first year of college was a huge mix of ups and downs. During the first couple of months, I was shocked by the amount of free time I had, compared to my constantly filled schedule in high school. Since my sophomore year, I worked 20-30 hours a week, led multiple organizations, and still managed to make time for school and a social life. The constant grind was empowering and felt like a constant adrenaline rush. But, it also led to an extreme burnout. So, my game plan going into college was to give myself time to settle and focus solely on school.
After a couple of months of purely focusing on classes and relaxing; my type A, ambitious personality was going stir crazy. I was too complacent. I found myself napping in between classes in my dorm, and felt unmotivated and uninterested with school. Unhappy with my bare schedule, I updated my resume and started applying to numerous jobs and organizations. I felt a thrill and a sense of hope after submitting each application and with every application, I received a rejection letter. With barely any responsibility and routine, my mind went into a depression and my self-confidence dropped. I labeled myself a failure and felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Several therapy sessions later, I learned to adjust my negative thinking and felt hopeful again. While the napping continued to the end of the first semester, I was determined to make significant changes and change my mindset going into my second semester. On my flight going back to college, I opened up the Notes app on my iPhone and made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish by the end of my second semester.
Starting in January, I applied to more part-time jobs and instead of fearing rejection, I welcomed it. I was accepted into an organization that I was rejected from the previous semester and also got a part-time job. At last, I thought I would be happy after getting those opportunities. But no, I was again stuck. I was busier, but I did not value the work I was doing. I was conflicted. I knew I wasn’t happy, so I made the risky decision to drop those extracurriculars. I was back to square one, but this time I wasn’t sad about it, I believed in myself to know that I would get through it and kept searching for more opportunities.
One night I was having dinner with friends, and I noticed that a long awaited boba shop finally opened in my college town. I immediately left the restaurant and went into the shop. I inquired about a job and discovered that it was their opening day. I met with the owner and was interviewed on the spot. Pleased with my previous boba barista experience, I was hired immediately and scheduled to work the following morning for training and had another shift at night. I was excited because I’m from the Bay Area where there is basically a boba shop on every corner.
After my first training shift, the Public Relations side of me quickly searched for their online presence and noticed a lack of it. I knew how much potential there was for this business and felt the need to help. Going in to my shift that night, I felt hesitant to speak to the owner about it, since it was my FIRST day and I did not want to overstep my boundaries.
But, as I was walking there I saw something that caught my eye. Every week, the neighboring Christian Church has a clever, inspirational quote to catch everyone’s attention. That week it said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock build a door.” It felt like fate. I immediately took a picture of it and posted it on my instagram story. To me, that was a sign (no pun intended) that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and talk to him. After my shift, I sat down with him and told him about my previous: photography, social media, and web design experiences. After giving my brief elevator pitch… BOOM! He was interested. I felt excited. I felt motivated. I found my purpose. The next day, I started photographing the drinks, and a couple of days later I started posting on the social media platforms. The following week, I completed and launched their website. What I accomplished during that random week in February was more productive than what I accomplished during my entire first semester.
From reflecting on those experiences, I learned the following:
- Everyone, especially young people, should not be so hard on themselves with their expectations. Set your goals high, but understand that it will take time and effort.
- Nothing is a straight line. There are ups and downs, just because you’re stuck now, doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck forever. Instead of fighting it; accept it and work harder.
- Don’t wait for things to fall in your lap. You need to CREATE opportunity (build your door).
Everyday, I ask myself what opportunities I can create that will better others and better myself. I encourage all of you to do the same.
- Want to work for your dream company? Find an employee on LinkedIn and build a connection.
- Passionate about something, but notice a lack of it at your school or community? Find others who also share the same passion and form a group.
- Hate writing, but want to improve? Start a blog…
What doors are you going to build today?