Stepping into the unknown

Hi There.

So… I am 34 years old and 3 weeks away from finishing an intense one year grad program called BDW — http://bdw.colorado.edu/ — and I am scared to death. BDW is a place where learning is done through doing and making, rather than studying and test taking. I wake up every morning and vomit from the stress of having to start the job hunt. The stress from not knowing what to expect in the work force has been paralyzing.

See, prior to joining the C7 cohort at BDW I was successful at running my own design practice. I was working on a range of design oriented projects. From interior and graphic design to web design and development. I have had the good fortune of supporting myself on my freelance business and at times had enough work to support design assistants. When I first started out I was extremely optimistic, bright eyed and eager to work. I graduated in 2008 at the start of the financial meltdown in the United States and somehow I was able to stay affloat by completing little projects for my network of small business owners.

In 2013 I had decided to go back to school. I was thinking that I would either prep for my MBA or take pre-reqs for a career in health care. Five years of stringing together freelance projects had taken it’s toll on my health and I was suffering from stress related headaches and wasn’t able to get a good nights sleep. It’s strange to come back to school in your early 30s. It seemed to me that most people were making strides in their careers, buying homes, getting married, some of them were having kids… and here I was on a college campus with people ten years younger than me.

After a year of part time classes, I decided I would join the C7 cohort at BDW and further my creative skill set. After 5 years of working independently I wanted to be able to join a team and work on bigger projects. I don’t know if I have made the right decision. Every morning for the past three weeks I get up, think about my upcoming job search and start to vomit. Searching for a job is incredibly intimidating and all of my insecurities come to the surface. “How will I ever make ends meet?” “Who will want to hire me?” “Did I just waste another year of my life in education when I could have been getting valuable work experience?” “What have I learned over the past year?” Needless to say I am scared to death.

I don’t know what to think of the upcoming job search. People at school keep saying “you’ll be fine…” and reassure us all that there is a need for the work we will be doing. Yet I am still uneasy about what is to come. I am uneasy about the reality of putting myself out there and facing rejection. In the back of my mind I wonder if I could’ve done something different with my life. And if I could’ve done something different… what would it have been?

I’m only sharing all of this because it’s what’s on my mind… and hopefully because there will be a follow up post that is about my awesome new job and co-workers. I hope that the job search goes smoothly and I can report back with success. Until then, I am going to focus on keeping my food down every morning.

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