Fake It Till You Make It
"No one knows what they're doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out.” - April Ludgate, Parks & Recreation
In the past week, I received two similar texts that have said some variation of "you're killing post-grad life - what's your secret?"
Upon receiving both of these texts, I laughed until I literally cried. Little did these two individuals know...I was in the midst of sitting around at 8 pm in a big shirt and underwear (lack of AC is hard), watching my third straight hour of Parks & Rec, and cradling a pint of Arctic Zero (seriously, I'm addicted to the vanilla maple).
Let me tell you firsthand: I am nowhere near killing postgrad life. If you think my post-grad life (or anyone's for that matter) is "picture perfect," you are wrong. Sorry to shatter the illusion!
Here's the sitch: I hardly have any friends, I have no idea what I'm doing 90% of the time at work, I miss college terribly, I miss having tons of free time, and I still don't know where I want my life to go. Yikes.
For a brief moment (aka a few weeks), I cried about it almost everyday. I thought everyone else had their life together except me, but I slowly realized it was kind of like freshman year all over again -- everyone was literally just faking it for appearances.
Faking certain things can be kind of bad...but in this instance, I think faking it (till you make it) is actually a good way to go. Since I have adopted this approach, I've noticed that I've been more genuinely happy and content and have finally started to figure some things out (what a circuit breaker is, email etiquette, small talk topics, etc.).
Though I studied Communications in college, it was all pretty theoretical, so when I accepted a job in public relations I was lost at sea. Sure, I'd had some PR internships before and had some marketable skills, but at the start of my job there were hundreds of tasks I had no idea how to do. Of course, I asked my fair share of questions (to the point of annoyance). But, then I started just saying "yes" to new work tasks...and taking to Google, asking my coworker, and just approaching the work confidently as if I totally knew what I was doing all along. I definitely made some mistakes along the way, but overall it's paid off. Forcing myself to just fake my knowledge...somehow turned successful. I've learned so much, and it's made me more confident and ask for more responsibility.
I've adopted a similar approach towards friends outside of work. I'm painfully shy, but I've been faking a sense of outgoing-ness. This has helped me make initial friends during this weird transition. Though originally I was forcing myself to fake this quality, I've now noticed I've become more and more outgoing and confident.
Faking it obviously isn't great for everything, and I'm not advocating being a fake person, but sometimes you just have to force yourself to branch out and try new things and trust eventually things will fall into place exactly.
So, to shatter the illusion -- 90% of post-grads are faking it (and hilariously convincing others they have it together -- still laughing at those texts). Props to the 10% of you who really have it together.