This post isn’t related to comic books or graphic novels, but I wanted to share my post-grad experience thus far with all of you. Maybe it will offer some hope, or guidance, or optimism. I hope so anyway.

I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science in May. Last month, I started two part time jobs at two separate libraries. I work in the adult reference department at both libraries. This entails answering patron’s research questions, helping them on the computer or with their personal devices, looking up items for them and placing holds, ordering materials for the library, developing programs (though I have not had to do this yet =P), and a whole lot more. For not one, but two libraries, with completely different policies, procedures, and demographic groups they cater to.

But you know what? I love it.

One of my libraries has a makerspace. I’ve been learning to 3D print by helping my boss print low-poly Pokemon! We’re planning to utilize them on our social media to promote different services the library offers. We also have sewing machines and a vinyl cutter, which I have not learned yet but can’t wait to! We’re planning a remodel to have an actual maker SPACE instead of it being in a closet, among other things =P And I will have my own desk in the new office that will be put in >:D

My other library has a community garden, complete with chickens! We have four baby chicks that have hatched. This library just finished a renovation within the last couple years, and the building still smells new. There are a lot of new employees here, young women like me, because of a string of retirees. A lot of fresh blood and new ideas going on here~

My bosses at both libraries have been great, making sure that my schedules work together. I have been tossed right out onto the desks because I worked circulation in my last job, and these two libraries are in the same system my old one was. I know the print and computer reservation systems at one library already, and the other is switching this month to those systems, so I really didn’t have to learn their current one =P One of my new bosses has been amazing with teaching me ordering procedures and practices on my off-desk time. I am already in charge of ordering the 700’s – the art section! My favorite!!! =D

I feel… amazing. Honestly. During grad school I went through so many periods where I wasn’t even sure I belonged in the program or even wanted to continue. During my job hunt, which stretched from January to July, hearing mostly nothing but radio silence, I became convinced I was unemployable. My mother was constantly asking why I wasn’t applying for full-time jobs, but here’s the truth: there aren’t a lot for this field. Some of my professors even told me that many librarians work two part-time jobs unless you’re a department head, director, or teacher: all jobs I wasn’t qualified for fresh out of school. Though my mom meant well, it put extra pressure on me, trying to live up to her expectations.

Graduation really didn’t bring any relief from the stress. I had to junk my car the literal week of, leaving me constantly having to borrow a car from a family member, which I feel guilty about. Relations at my last job soured, to the point where I hated to go to work every day. I tried to stay positive, telling myself I could make art and survive at my then-current job, though I knew in the back of my mind trying to pay my loans and bills on art is next to impossible. I avoided Facebook, too depressed to be anything but jealous of my friends who were getting engaged or married, buying houses or new cars, and backpacking through Europe. I isolated myself and made art to feel even the tiniest bit worthwhile. I ate junk food every day (comfort, I told myself, when it wasn’t a reward after an interview), didn’t work out (couldn’t afford running shoes), and felt generally like a worthless mess.

Ever since I got the first job offer, my confidence and self-esteem has returned. I finally feel like myself again, like the sun finally came out after a long winter. I initially wasn’t sure if I could do two jobs, but it’s much easier than I thought it would be. The only downside is, I have neglected my art ;-; Once I adjust to my new schedule, finding time shouldn’t be a problem. Money isn’t everything, but my income literally quadrupled, and I feel much more at peace knowing I’ll be able to pay my loans, bills, gas money, and still save for my future – all while having fun money left over to feed my Bombshells obsession >:D Financial security is a beautiful thing. My first purchases with my first paycheck were a new phone, new art supplies, and a pair of running shoes. I am dressing better (thanks, Goodwill), working out again, eating better, feel better – hell, I AM better. I am miles away from where I was mentally even three months ago.

All thanks to one phone call taken in the parking lot of the mall on a steamy July afternoon.

So, for all our younger readers struggling to see the light on this side of graduation, hang in there. You have been and will be put through hell, but you will survive. You will be stronger, but you are already stronger than you know. You are so much more than what your negative and anxious thoughts are screaming at you. You are employable, no matter what you believe. You absolutely do not have a deadline for finding a job, for getting engaged or married, or taking that vacation you’ve always wanted to. My boyfriend didn’t find a job until almost a year after he graduated, for example. Now that we’re both out of school and employed, we can sit down and talk about the next steps of our relationship without pressure. Above all, you will find your own happiness, whatever it means to you. I know all of this sounds cheesy, and you might not believe it, but it’s true.

I didn’t believe any of it either, yet here I am.

– Kathleen