I have been a college graduate for almost a year now. I can't tell you how amazing it felt to click the Submit button for my Capstone paper, to realize that I had just completed my last assignment as an undergraduate. I felt like I was on top of the world! I had just put four difficult years of college behind me and I was ready to embrace "the real world." I would be staying in Provo but I felt confident that I would find a job quickly. Heck, I had earned a Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University! Who wouldn't want me to work for them?
I applied for receptionist jobs, secretarial jobs, writing jobs, etc. Most of the time, I didn't hear back from the places I applied to but eventually the interviews started to slowly trickle in. It wasn't until I had to participate in a group interview that I finally realized just how many people were desperately looking for work. How could I make myself stand out amongst all those other applicants when everyone was in the exact same position that I was?
Well, days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and I still had nothing to show for all my efforts. I became very discouraged and I had difficulty seeing anything in myself other than my weaknesses. I began to feel like I understood why I couldn't find a job. Why would anyone want to hire me anyway? I don't know if I can really do the jobs I'm applying for. There are others out there who are so much more qualified and experienced. Who am I compared to them? After months of rejection, I was almost afraid to get a job. I was afraid that once I got one I wouldn't be able to live up to expectations. I was afraid of failure.
Then one day, I was reading President Uchtdorf's talk The Remarkable Soul of a Woman and I came across these words: "Don't let the fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you -- whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside." I realized that I was only limiting myself by questioning my capabilities. I had become my own worst critic and I decided then and there that I wouldn't listen to that voice in my head, that voice telling me that I wasn't capable of doing anything.
I knew I had to make a decision but, like most people, I wanted someone else to make that decision for me. My lifelong experience with revelation, however, has shown me that I have to study it out in my mind first, make a decision, and then ask whether that decision is right. So I decided I was going to move to Nashville, Tennessee. I was going to find a job at some kind of Civil War site. (By the way, this decision wasn't completely random. My Grandma lives near Nashville.) But a few months after I had made this decision, I had the distinct impression that a move to Nashville was not in the cards for me, that the Lord had something greater in store.
That week, I was talking with my mom on the phone and she asked me if I had ever considered becoming a paralegal. I had always been interested in the law but I didn't want to go to full-blown law school. The thought intrigued me so I did a little research and found that California State University, East Bay (which has a campus in my hometown) has a good paralegal certification program. All descriptions of what paralegals do ("paralegals assist lawyers by investigating the facts of cases, researching relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles, drafting contracts, and writing reports") seemed to fit exactly what I wanted out of a career. I wanted my History major and my English minor to count for something, and I felt that the research and writing skills I've acquired throughout my college education lent themselves to this profession. This seemed like a perfect fit for me.
One thing after another began to fall into place. I went home over Memorial Day weekend for a wedding and came back to Provo with a job for the fall in California. I went out to the mailbox on Saturday and found this letter:
My roommate Heidi can attest to the excitement I felt. I was jumping up and down in my living room, shouting, "I have a future!" as I read the first paragraph. After a year of disappointment and a serious lack of direction, I finally felt like I was going somewhere.
So I'm moving back to good ol' Concord, California at the end of August. It's a little bit scary to think of leaving Provo. I've been here for five years now and I've gotten comfortable. But I know it's time to move forward and the future is looking brighter and brighter everyday. I'm so grateful for the way everything has fallen into place. I don't know how everything is going to turn out but I know things will come out all right. Who knows? Since everything else has fallen into place, maybe a man will come around the corner soon, too! Okay. STOP, Celia! You can't ask for too much too soon!