Where you are

by pvakil91

I feel so behind. I feel that no matter what I do, how I write, who I am – I’m just not good enough to get to where I need to be. And it’s all well and good to say “you are where you need to be” because although that may be true, it is what you have to tell yourself to feel better. I get overly anxious and that usually doesn’t help me. So telling myself that I am where I need to be, allows me to be more productive and more positive compared to paralysed and pessimistic.

I’m 23 years old and I want to work with Internally Displaced Communities, specifically working on policy writing to provide access to education and mental healthcare to children who are in these situations. I’ve got my elevator speech down. I know how I want to spend the rest of my life, whether it’s alone or with a partner. I know how I can use my skills and talents and I know I can be ballerific – if I were just given the chance.

I see peers of mine finishing up with grad school or getting their work and internship opportunities that will lead them to where they want to be. I feel like my parents were right and that I never really took the opportunities and sought out how to do college right. Sometimes I wonder that if I had a specific major, like pre-med, if I would have been able to check the boxes and get to that final goal. I personally know friends who ticked all the boxes and now, they’re in Public Health or they’re working to be physician’s assistants instead of being MDs. I also know people who had the internship their sophomore summer, their junior year and by senior year, they knew exactly what they were going to be doing and where they were going to be for the two years after they graduated.
I had absolutely no idea where exactly I would be. At one point I thought I would be in law school. Two years later, after 2 months in DC, a year at my alma mater, I’m in Spain. And in a few months I’ll be in DC, starting my masters. Do I regret the last two years? Nope. I was at my healthiest (mentally), my most productive, and most content with my life. Somehow though, I feel like I became complacent and now I’m just totally off track. I apply for internships and I don’t get them. I apply for competitive opportunities, and I don’t get them. I used to be so good at being competitive. And now I wonder, maybe if I had been more precise and exact during college, I would have not lost my competitiveness and maybe my grades would be better, because we all know it’s a numbers game out there.

The good thing is I no longer associate these opportunities I didn’t get to my self-worth. I know I’m a highly capable individual and I have so much to offer. I just also feel that it is so difficult for me to get the things that I want the most. I try and I read and I even luck out and meet some of the right people who support me, and I still feel like I’m getting nowhere.

I feel that to get access to those opportunities, I’m just going to have to know the right person and have him/her recommend me highly. Or I’ll have to pay to get myself those opportunities. I’m going to go into debt for grad school, like everybody, and I have this fear that even with my professional degree it’s not going to be easy. To comfort myself, I tell myself that I have my whole life ahead of me to do what means the most to me and hopefully do more and help more people as I get to that point. I justify that my path is not one that follows a linear list of steps and it doesn’t have a carved out timeline because how many people out there are currently doing what I want to do? How many people know exactly what they want to do at this point in their lives? (for those who do and for those who knew a while ago, maybe I’m/we’re just lucky to have been around the same circumstances to get to know people like this – maybe we’re in a different pool of people who got to get to that part of their life sooner because they worked their butts off and they had a lot of support).

I just get scared that I may not get to do what I want to do. It’s silly for me to think that way because here I am, in Spain, doing what I want to do and what I absolutely love. And I’m only 23.
How do you know if you’re working hard and smart and your best or if you’re just being complacent? Do the results, getting what you applied for, matter? To me they do. I want to apply for fellowships and programs and jobs and internships, and I want to know, with security, that I will get the opportunity. Or am I just trying for things that, at some level, I know I cannot get? Or maybe I just don’t fit in when I’m in the US. The opportunities I seek seem closed off to a people who have a stellar gpa, the right standardized scores, the right opportunities on their resume/CV, or the right connections on their Linkedin profiles.

Or maybe rejection is just the way of life. Or maybe I need to re-evaluate what kinds of opportunities I seek out. Ok, I go back. I don’t want to have to re-evaluate the opportunities I seek out, because I seek them out for a reason. I seek them out because I know I can shine in them and I can perform them really well. Or maybe there are people who are just more qualified than I am.
I don’t know how this stuff works. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this. I just wish I knew how to live through this and keep working towards what I want. I also wish there were some sort of affirmation from the universe that I’m slowly getting there. Or maybe I’m asking for too much.
Or maybe, I’m where I need to be: confused, anxious, happy, traveling, worried, complacent, despondent, optimistic, here.