Before I graduated in December, I had the plan to apply to BYU’s psychology PhD program in January, get accepted, take nine months off, go back to school Fall 2015, become a bona fide therapist, then live the rest of my life sitting in a cushy armchair listening to other people’s problems.
Then my last semester happened and I got hit by senioritis SUPER HARD. I didn’t want to be in school for another ten years — heck, I didn’t even want to finish the semester. The idea of studying for and taking the GRE, applying to a graduate program, then going to school for ten years was soul-crushing.
I was hating school so much that I talked to a professor about it. She asked if I’d ever taken time off from school — aside from my mission (which wasn’t a break). I said I hadn’t and she recommended that I take some time to R&R.
I knew there were other things I wanted to do in life aside from becoming educated and getting a good job (like traveling and writing), so I put all my plans on hold and impulse-bought a plane ticket to Europe (I’d always wanted to see western Europe) for a month-long #EURUSSIACRAYCRAYVACAY (which you can read about here).
|First day of the trip, found St. Basil’s!|
My crazy Europe vacation was so great! I saw amazing places I’d always wanted to see and experienced amazing things I’d always wanted to do WHILE seeing amazing places I never knew existed AND doing amazing things I never thought I’d do. My month-long trip was a huge success and made me want to travel all over the world.
But then I came back home. I’d spent all my money, maxed out my credit card, and was living on borrowed cash from my parents. My trip had been pretty cheap, relatively speaking, but if I wanted to do another big trip, I knew I’d have to save up a lot more money to do it.
Being a recent college grad, I applied for lots of jobs hoping to find one that paid well and would give at least a month off every year to travel. Even if I didn’t get a lot of time off, I figured I’d be able to make pretty decent money. I mean, I had a college degree, right?
JK. Turns out, getting a job is kind of a game: a lot jobs (decent-paying, full-time jobs) value experience over education. I had the education, but little experience, so every job I actually wanted wouldn’t hire me.
Another part of the job game is having connections. Fortunately, a roommate helped me get a job doing customer service. It wasn’t salaried and I was at the bottom of the totem pole, but the job paid the bills. In a couple months, I was out of debt and was able to save a bit.
While I appreciated the job, sitting all day drove me CARAZAY. I’d worked on my feet with REAL people my whole life, but this job was all on the phone and I mainly got callers asking questions I didn’t know the answers to. At the end every day, I felt like such a dope cuz I was a college-educated dude who couldn’t even do this rinky dink job right. I quit after two months and did odd jobs (yard work, etc.) to make ends meet (which I preferred).
|An old #worktweet. Follow me on Twitter!|
|I worked in this creek for a day. Much better than a desk.|
I was super frustrated. By this time, I knew I was going to Taiwan for a month (which was gonna be cool!!), but I didn’t know how things would work out after that. I’d gone to college so I could get a good job, but now I was digging holes all day cuz I’d rather do that than sit at a desk. Why had I gone to college if it didn’t help at all? Why were things not lining up like they’d always seemed to before?
I mean, my whole life had been a check list: go to school, get good grades, get your Eagle Scout, go on a mission, finish college, get married, have kids, support a family. I’d done everything on the checklist (up to the married part), and now there was nothing left to do. (And even if I had married, I feel like I’d be having similar struggles, just multiplied.)
So, since I didn’t know what to do, I started fasting and praying to figure it out. The idea of traveling popped into my head. I’d already known I wanted to travel, but now I was thinking about traveling full-time. I thought, “Maybe I can stop playing this job game and just go off and do my own thing. I could travel for cheap (like, not in Europe) and see where things went from there.”
Then I thought, “I can’t do that. I need money to travel and I have no money.”
Then literally someone shared an article on my Facebook: “How to travel with no money.” I read it and other blogs about traveling even cheaper than I already had.
So I figured God was trying to tell me something. I thought, “Fine, after Taiwan, I’ll work for six months, save as much as I can, then go off and travel.”
So I went to Taiwan with that plan. Taiwan was a blast and a half, then I went to California last week, and I just got back to Provo.
I was applying for jobs today and I was back at the job game again: “Not enough experience. Don’t have the right connections for this job. Yes I can answer phones all day.” I knew I could get a job in customer service or custodial (because that’s what I have experience in) but I didn’t want to. Like, I really didn’t want to. But I applied for, like, 15 jobs today. Some I’m qualified for, some I’m not, but I just hoped to get something.
About midday, the lady I worked for in Taiwan posted online asking if anyone could come to Taiwan last minute to teach English for six months. Immediately I responded and said I would go. It just felt 100% right and I had (still have) no hesitation at all. She was like, “Great! You’re flying out on the 31st.”
I Skyped with her later today and it sounds like a sweet deal: housing and food paid for along with a paycheck every month.
I’m very excited and it feels exactly like what I should be doing right now. I’ll be able to work for six months, save a lot of what I earn, then go off and have an adventure, all while having an adventure.
I mean, I know my whole life isn’t solved now. I know things might fall through. I know teaching English will be hard. I know it’s only for six months. But it’s something and things are working out for now.
So look forward to the next six months of blogging, y’all! And after that, we’ll be able to travel somewhere else together.
Fun fun fun fun, you know what I mean.