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Alumna shares her experience of post-Mills anxiety

It feels like just yesterday I was standing on stage before a large crowd of graduating seniors, grad students, parents, friends, and family members speaking optimistically about the time to come after graduation . I remember the surreal feeling of knowing that I had completed my time at Mills and was not completely sure of what would come next.

I planned to go on to graduate school immediately following my completion of a summer internship at a non-profit called College Summit, which works to increase college enrollment rates from low-income communities in San Francisco. Yet, my plans have changed since and I am happy with my new decision: being here in Oakland, not in graduate school and trying to figure out life.

To make a long story short, I didn’t have enough money to attend the program I had been accepted to for grad school, I was not sure I felt 100 percent dedicated to the program and felt a need to explore life outside of college before making a decision.

Immediately after finishing my full-time summer internship in August, I spent two weeks unemployed, sent out over 200 resumes and still did not find my dream first job. I actually did not find a dream job at all; I started working in a café making coffee and helping with administrative work.

I remember feeling embarrassed when people I knew from Mills would come in. I would get upset that I couldn’t find a better job, but I eventually overcame my ego. I was lucky to find 2 additional part-time jobs over the next two weeks. I worked three jobs for a while which proved to be too much work and travel for me, and I am now happy working two part-time jobs. In one position, I am an after-school instructor at a local middle school. In the other, I work in a media marketing department for a start-up company.

I am still looking for full-time work. I have really gotten into media marketing and want to explore the possible career choices it holds. I feel extremely lucky to be exploring what I want to do and how I want to live my life, but a consistent commitment really helped me out this entire time.

I was a four-year-athlete on the Mills College soccer team and I could not live without exercise. I continued to play non-leaguesoccer with some Mills alumnae on Monday nights. I also became a member at The Perfect Sidekick, a LGBT gym co-owned by current Mills MBA student Nathalie Huerta, and I take BootCamp, (a full body workout exercise class which includes kick boxing and yoga) a few times a week.

It has also helped me to have an amazing support system. Because my best friend from Mills has moved to the other side of the country, I have had twice the incentive to make new friends. I use Skype, texting, phone calls and Facebook to communicate with my family.

I have found that love and spirituality are also important to have in my life. To learn about love, rather than just through romantic relationships. I have been reading the book All About Love by bell hooks. I’m learning each day how to love myself, my girlfriend and the world more deeply.

I completely understand the anxiety that comes from thinking about what to do post-Mills, but I can testify:  the universe really does take care of you. I’ve found positive thoughts, working out, maintaining friendships, eating right and perservering when you want to give up is the way to go.

I think what was really difficult was finding a community after Mills. I’ve been exploring different churches and communities where I feel at home. Meeting new people reminds me that I’m not alone and many people are having similar experiences.

There are no specific steps you can take to become successful in the next few months or years. I encourage you to trust yourself and put full effort in all that you do. You will be just fine.