Reflections On A Post-Grad Life, Pt. II

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this… And a lot has changed since then.

My own fork in the road. With Cherry Blossoms, because they’re beautiful.

With my contract expiring at LSU University Relations at the end of the month, I was pretty much forced to re-evaluate what I want to do with my life career-wise. I mean the plan had always been: graduate, get a job at an agency in entertainment PR, move over to a network once I had accumulated enough experience and then become a network head by age 40. While this was a lofty goal, I had put in the time and effort needed to jump-start this plan, applying to more than 200 positions since March 2013. After countless fruitless interviews, I never gave up hope – I mean, this was a goal I wholeheartedly supported. And when I commit to something, I don’t half-ass it (half-assing has never been a part of my vocabulary). But even the most exuberant goals can have an expiration date.

What killed me was that the positions I was being told to apply for were publicity positions. And while these would be amazing opportunities for anyone to undertake, publicity never really appealed to me. It’s one of those things where one isn’t the master of the content itself; one just promotes the message as dictated by someone else. For example, I could promote a show like True Blood, suggesting to its target audience to watch the show, but I would not be able to say, “Hey, this episode should have this issue as an undertone.” I realized I would rather be on the script development or content-coordinating side of the television business instead of the promotions side. And these content positions were the posts I started applying for (in addition to the publicity positions).

Guess I don’t have to worry about these anymore… 😦

But, nothing seemed to be working out unfortunately. And it was from this goal of wanting to be more involved in creating a message that I realized just how much I wanted to see change in the environment around me. Between trying to raise the profile of minority groups in the public eye and even championing equality for all, I knew that I wanted to make a positive impact in my environment for others. Because of this, entertainment PR started to lose its appeal. And again, it’s nothing against those people who are in the industry already, I just knew that I would not be happy without the ability to directly create something that can stir waves of change throughout this nation. I can’t deal with indirectly affecting others.

From here, I started to think about healthcare and political PR. The issue I ran into with science healthcare PR was that most of it has to do with helping big companies that are not necessarily looking to better the world. Many of the clients I could represent in this sector would include pharmaceutical companies and science research labs. I mean, the thing that really got to me was that no matter what, I still would not be able to say, “Hey, maybe we should conduct research on this topic instead;” or even suggest more reasonable pricing plans for specific drugs. These types of road blocks brought me to the same conclusion scouring the entertainment PR world did: I need to make a change in the world in a capacity where I can actually affect what would go on. This led me to the one place I knew I’d be heading from the beginning: non-profit PR.

Now, there is nothing wrong with non-profit PR. I love working with non-profits; I’ve just never had the desire to make a career out of it. The hours are arbitrary and the resources are so minuscule that it would require a lot of effort on the part of its volunteers. Of course, I would be very willing to volunteer and serve these organizations, but I know that it would not be prudent on my part to believe I could support myself on a salary taken from non-profit work only. Growing up I was taught that non-profit work is the thing one does outside of one’s duties for family and career. It is how one uses one’s time for good. And it has always been a part of my plan to be involved in charities and non-profits, except in a extracurricular capacity.

While coming to this conclusion, I knew that my extracurricular activities would satisfy me, but what about my career? What could I do that would help others and directly impact their lives? While trying to figure this all out over the past couple of months, I had been hearing the same types of stories from friends. The ones where they would go to a counselor or psychologist and they;d have the most interesting experiences, recounting times when these licensed professionals would tell them to “get over your problems, you’re being a baby,” or “grow up and understand that guys will treat you like this because of the way you dress.”

“In other words, Sally,” the doctor said, “you’re a whore and deserve to be treated the way you are.”

These two statements, along with countless others, made me question just how much screening and lack of professional conduct is present in this profession. I was appalled when I heard about how opinions made their way into diagnoses and advice. The job of a counselor or psychologist is NOT to tell people how you think they should live their lives, but rather help them come to terms with the issues they face so that they can indeed become more productive members of society. And it was from here that things finally started to pull together to become the solution to that age-old question “What should I do with my life?” I knew that I should become a psychiatrist, helping those who I believe need it the most. This population includes minorities of all types, including women and LGBT youth. Listening already to the countless problems facing my friends, I know that from the age 16 to about 29, humans undergo such drastic change that many are unable to cope and make sense of everything around them. I want to be able to help these people when they are going through the hardest and most transitory part of their lives.

The best part of all is that I will be helping people become healthier and stronger, giving them the tools to make life so much better. And there truly is nothing better than that. And so, with that, I am officially announcing that I will be working toward attending Medical School in the Fall of 2015. Get excited!

Other goals I have for this next chapter of my life:

  • Complete my Biochemistry degree (only 19 hours left!)
  • Complete my Psychology minor
  • Complete my current screenplay and develop two episodes of the television show I have been toying with
  • Prepare my thesis for publication
  • Take the MCAT and OWN it
  • Start volunteering at clinics
  • and (as always) travel

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite jams from the past couple of weeks. It’s all about appreciating the little things and remembering what matters most. Check out Clean Bandit‘s “Rather Be” below: