It's no surprise that I've been worried about what I'm going to be doing after I graduate from college. After having thing after thing set in front of you for 21 years of your life (middle school, high school, college) and then suddenly being thrown out in to the world, there's only one thought on my mind: "what am I going to do?" Also, "fuck."
I talked with two of my teachers and some grad students today about their own experiences when they graduated undergrad, and accepted any opinions or advice they had. It was extremely enlightening, and I'm really glad I did. I feel so much less anxious about it now, and don't fear that I won't be able to pay my rent or not be able to do something I like.
Both of my teachers had something different to say. One is much more down to earth in the way that he doesn't baby me. He consistently tries to push me to bigger and better things and break me out of my comfort zone because he knows I can get there. He has made me into a better artist and a much more critical thinker about my work. His advice was about finding specific jobs, places he knew about and thought might work. The idea of taking an internship while working at a job not necessarily related to art was one idea. Along with that, he told me to get out there, pound the pavement, talk to people and express interest. This is the way I'll find work in the art world.
My other professor had similar advice, but in a different vein of thought. I'm so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet him and get to know him better through senior thesis. He is the first professor to ever express how much he loves my work and gave me a confidence boost that I haven't received in a long time. I get compliments from my fellow classmates and some grads, but never from professors, and it's nice to hear that an accomplished artist appreciates your talent and the work you create.
He had a great analogy for how I should approach jobs. I should be like an alien ship, going from planet to planet to gain as many resources as possible before moving on to the next. He said that this is how I should treat my future jobs. Never let anyone tell you that a job is beneath you, or that you have nothing to learn from it. Learning what it has to offer may only take a couple of weeks, but it could also take years. I got the same advice from a grad I spoke to as well: never let the job be you. In the art field, more often than not, the job is just a job. What you do outside the job is what counts.
I also expressed what my ideal is. I want to change the world, change the way people think and their opinions, and inspire people (that's the gist, anyway). He said that since I have that drive, and that I think about those sorts of things, that's important. It'll take me far. He said that I reminded him of one of his good friends he met in grad school. He said that I had a really great personality and that I was nice to be around. I'm pretty sure I was blushing by that point!
Both were important conversations. One was more of a pep-talk, and the other, a heart to heart. Now I don't feel as anxious as I was before.