Here we are. After three long years. Finally done. But, now what? I mean, I should be good now, right? I followed all the rules. I did what my parents told me to do. I stayed in school. Even when I felt frustrated, I stuck to it. Even when I felt like I did not belong, I showed up. Leading up to this very moment, where I can finally agree with all the elders that the “world is my oyster” and “all doors are now open to me.” I was really excited about this grande finale, until it ended. There were no oysters or open doors. It felt as if I was turning the page to the next chapter of a book, a real book, and found the next page blank. This was frightening at first, but I learned to recognize and appreciate my new freedom in this blank page.
As you may know, a J.D. can be used for a variety of jobs and landing a job is not easy. As much as everyone likes to advise fresh graduates that networking is the key to success, I feel luck plays a big part in that as well. Your luck only works in your favor if you are prepared for it. That preparation is what I had to take some time to work on. Initially, I figured working hard for grades, a resume, and some form of a network was enough, but it barely scratched the surface. I realized that I had to work on me. I had to believe in me. Crazy, right? How did I miss that? I know I cannot be the only one guilty of forgetting to take care of myself. Well, here are three ways to get back your peace at a turning point in your life.
Jump back and kiss yourself. Yes, I got that from James Brown. You need to be proud of yourself. It is so important to take the time to acknowledge how far you have come and what you achieved. When we are goal-oriented, and possibly humble, we tend to ignore celebrating ourselves. I was guilty of that. Once I master something I put my mind to, I tend to immediately move on to the next challenge. That is ok if you are always in motion. Once there is a pause or a gap, that mindset can lead to heavy doubt. So don’t leave room for doubt. Use that pause to celebrate yourself and be proud of what you accomplished.
Focus on your lane. Comparison is very tempting, especially when it seems everyone else is doing something better than you. Remember, we are all masters of filters and nothing is as it seems. Do not get lost in comparing your chapter 5 with another’s chapter 34. When we fall into comparisons, we miss the opportunity to celebrate others. That is what I continue to remind myself. Spreading love brings good karma in your direction. When I see my colleagues announcing their job placements before Bar exam results come out or engagement parties or moving to a new place, I cheer for them. I am genuinely happy for them and really hope it all works well in their lane. I truly want to see all of us succeed and I know my time in my lane is perfect.
Be optimistic about your new freedom, regardless of what your next step is. Freedom can be scary and exciting. Understand that mixture is ok. This was the biggest thing that had me feeling stuck. This new freedom frightened me because I was afraid of failure. With no guidelines to follow, or program to continue on to, or automatic job to slide in, what would keep me from falling? What would keep me from making mistakes? I realized that is what was so wonderful about this freedom. Do it afraid. Do it excited. I can design my destiny. I can be so in tune with my purpose, that I can trust I am being guided through this freedom.
That is what makes this time so beautiful. It can be transformative if you believe in yourself. Do you have any other tips for feeling stuck after a big accomplishment. Let me know in the comments!
Photography: Fotos By Ben