Why My Postgrad Blues Were Good For Me

I’ve gone through more mental, physical and emotional changes just in the past month than I have in my entire 22 years of life. And goodness has it been one heck of a confusing time!

I’d like to think of myself as someone who has always known what she’s wanted to do. Ever since high school, I knew music and writing was at the core of who I am–and I’ve never let it go.

I’ve been roadie-ing it up as my friend’s personal photobooth assistant; I’ve been side-gigging as a guitar teacher to my high school teacher’s daughter; I’ve interviewed to be a Yelp boothing monkey; applied to be a banquet server for a high-end catering company; researched ghostwriting; set up my own freelance writing business; been working my way as a freelance musician; and just recently become a “Peetnik” barista woman.

This was all in the span of just one month. And does that sound like a girl who knows what she’s doing?

About a week ago, the confusion began to hit me hard. My indecision got the best of me and I felt like I had lost my enthusiasm. I struggled to find jobs that excited me; I applied to odd-end jobs; I tried to make sense of my “degree” and “talents” in order to function as a regular American in society.

But the more and more I did that, the sadder I became. I knew that the more I tried to use my “smarts” and “résumé of experiences” to get a good job, the further I was from actually pursuing what I really wanted.

When you move back to a place you haven't lived in in four years, you're forced to find yourself again -- as a new and grown person. Currently, it feels like this isn't my life. So as I crawl around my hometown, inhabiting places and seeing new faces, now begins the hard part: figuring out where and what will make me feel at home and in my element again.

When you move back to a place you haven’t lived in in four years, you’re forced to find yourself again — as a new and grown person. Currently, it feels like this isn’t my life. So as I crawl around my hometown, inhabiting places and seeing new faces, now begins the hard part: figuring out where and what will make me feel at home and in my element again.

Last week, I felt so defeated by the postgrad blues that I went to Rasputin. I ended up buying eight CDs from artists I didn’t know very well/sounded familiar/whose singles I loved. For just $4.34, I picked up some records from 90s female-fronted pop/rock musicians like Sixpence None The Richer, The Cranberries, Natalie Imbruglia and KT Tunstall. Records from Incubus and R.E.M. also made me feel excited again. The rich acoustics and cheap demos reminded me of my love for music.

If you didn’t know, that same day I was about to book a flight to Indiana for $550 because I won a free meet-and-greet pass to see Cassadee Pope. I was almost convinced I was going to do it because 1) I had nothing to lose and 2) I wanted to get away. But, the rational part of me realized I didn’t need to sink down to that level and that money could be used for something more worthwhile.

After my first day of work last Friday, I got a Facebook message from a radio station called B92.5FM. I had been harassing all of their Facebook/Twitter/social media pages for about a week because I wanted to see Cassadee in Sacramento, but tickets for her appearance there were sold out for about a month. I thought it was a hopeless case.

Turns out I got lucky and won a pair of VIP meet-and-greet passes to the show, with the opportunity to meet Cassadee and a list of those other country artists I didn’t even know. I cancelled my night plans with friends, haggled my friend and bustled the two-hour drive to Sacramento by 6pm with the fear I was going to be late. (I apologize to anyone who has to sit in a car with me.)

The show and meet-and-greet were very strange (and deserves a post which will be written on its own), but one thing I took away from that night was how much I could not live without music.

These past few weeks, I’ve realized just how empty I feel without it. I’ve been so miserable trying to figure out what to do–working for other companies, setting up my own small writing business, trying to make myself a viable applicant–when all I want to do is be a creative freelancer.

When I had that one-second to talk to Cassadee and say I was about to see her in Indiana (“Why didn’t you?” “Oh ’cause I’m from here.” “Oh you’re right, it’s kinda far.”), I didn’t realize I was going to get the response I did. (“Oh, I know who you are! Are you Rachel?” “Yeah!” “Oh my God, so nice to see you!” with her genuine excitement.)

But in that small moment, with the kind of responses and feedback I’ve gotten from posting that moment (“Is there any part of your life that isn’t incredible?” “There’s something about Rachel”), I’ve realized, “Damn. You all are right. Why do I keep having these moments with people? Why do I chase these people so hard? Why do I feel so strongly about musicians? And more importantly, why do I feel so drawn to these musicians I see a piece of myself in? And even crazier, why do they respond to me?”

It’s because I’ve followed them enough to know where they’re coming from; I’ve followed and learned the industry for so long that they all become just friends and familiar faces–people just like me.

From all my stressful job hunting, I’ve realized that all I want to do is surround myself in the world of music. Whether it’s writing about it, playing it, working on it or even attending it, every single thing and opportunity in my entire life has always led me back to my love for music. Without it, I know just the kind of hell my life would be. I experienced a small piece of that hell for the past two weeks as I tried to fit myself into society as an able, young and intelligent university graduate who just wants to do other things for the time being.

I ought to listen to my gut. It’s never done me wrong, and it’s led me to some of my happiest moments throughout life. Whether it be those dumb spontaneous moments that led to seeing Cassadee Pope, interviewing Kina Grannis, or even auditioning for “Dia’s Biggest Fan” and all the other projects I never knew I would have done throughout college…

It’s scary to admit what you most fear that you want. But damn it: OWN IT.

I've gone through more mental and physical changes in the past month than I have my entire 22 years of life. Whether it was being a #photoboothroadie, Yelp monkey, guitar teacher, ghostwriter, banquet server, barista or freelance musician (yes, I went into all those this past month), I just want to thank @pattybananacakes for reminding me I can make anything I want into a job, even if the world won't think it'll make any sense.

I’ve gone through more mental and physical changes in the past month than I have my entire 22 years of life. Whether it was being a #photoboothroadie, Yelp monkey, guitar teacher, ghostwriter, banquet server, barista or freelance musician (yes, I went into all those this past month), I just want to thank @pattybananacakes for reminding me I can make anything I want into a job, even if the world won’t think it’ll make any sense.

7 responses to “Why My Postgrad Blues Were Good For Me

  1. I think it’s totally fine and more than just fine to not be the grown-up or trying to fit in. I feel it’s amazing to feel this passionate about something. I’ve been struggling for four years trying to find true love and passion, by the way I’m the same age as you. So two weeks or a month is great. I feel you got that rare intuitive, following-your-heart thing. Feel very fond of you. I hope you’ll get what you truly want in the end, and along the way.

    • Haha, sometimes I have to remind myself that I have all the freedom to make mistakes. Passion can run dry sometimes, but as long as I follow what I feel is right, I’m sure everything will be alright… Can definitely be a struggle sometimes. Your message means a lot to me. Thanks for your support!

      I’ve once heard if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, follow your curiosity.

      • Yes, exactly. I really appreciate your courage and trust when you’re following your heart!

        I’m curious how did you get that?

  2. “Rich acoustics and cheap demos.” Well said. It could be a song or a band name(s). It reminded you of your love for music.

  3. Pingback: Cassadee Pope, Bearded Man, VIP Passes and One “Girl with a Guitar” (10-23-2015) | beauty within·

  4. we who study and play and love music can never escape it. i sacrificed my music degree to become a physics teacher, but i caved within a few months out of school and bought myself a piano to keep myself from going insane. and now i’m practicing daily again.
    don’t ever stop doing what you love!

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