The question that haunts every person about to graduate from college. It happened to me when I was leaving Western and again now that things and my time in Italy is coming to an end. Trying to explain how stressful this question is to people is extremely hard and it is even harder now in the era of COVID-19.
The amount of uncertainty in the air is uncanny. I talk to my parents and people once if not more times a day and always get asked (mostly from Susan): “so when are you coming home”?
When I wrote my letter for MFI to get a better perspective about me, I told them that for once I was okay with not knowing what was next.
Turns out, I lied.
I always tell my dad that my life right now is a giant question mark. Who would have thought this would be the position I’m a year ago? Then again, that seems to be a trend over the last 5 years anyways. But there are a lot of extra factors we are looking at dealing with now.
In order to officially obtain my masters, I have to complete an internship and/or land a full-time job in the field we studied in. Good news is – you can do your internship anywhere in the world. Bad news is – I just got my masters degree in Brand Communication and Management… in an industry (fashion) that was basically shut down during the main months of COVID and in some cases still shut down. Looking at the job market currently is a wild thing. Especially for my current situation.
Let me explain.
When I moved to Italy, I knew it was just “for a year” but subconsciously I wanted it to be longer. If not in Italy, still in Europe somewhere. I have explained to many people on many occasions that I am the type of person with the personality to always want change and find something new or out of the ordinary. I am young, single, and have nothing really to do but experience what I can while I can. So why wouldn’t I want to stay in Europe? Especially if given the opportunity.
With COVID happening when it did, halting the market I am hoping to break into and de-railing the timeline for the year it kind of messed up things for me and then again puts me in a difficult decision of “where to next”? I was supposed to be done with everything “school” wise in July and my internship was ~supposed~ to start in September and last 3-6 months. Hopefully getting you more exposed to networks, contacts to land a full-time contract or position in the field. Timeline being ready to enter real-world status (again) around January or soon after. Obviously none of that happened.
We are not released to do our Internships or jobs until November now. But most don’t start until January if companies are doing them at all.
I know no one could have predicted the extensiveness and outcome of COVID but its really putting a damper on many plans, and not just mine. However, I am faced with the questions now: do I stay or do I go? If I stay, how do I afford it unless I have a job? Where do I stay? Do I stay in hopes of finding a job eventually? Well I did that in Pittsburgh, and that didn’t really work out.
Looking at the job market is SCARY. Not just for me graduating from MFI but I am sure for other people too graduating with their bachelors or other degrees.
Then we come to the topic of Italy in general. I get asked a lot of times too: “don’t you want to stay in Italy? Milan…don’t you love Milan?”
And I do. Italy is great. Milan is great. However, I recently discovered that I’m claustrophobic while exploring the underworld of Naples (if you haven’t read that blog yet, its linked here). Its also no secret that I was here for the full lockdown of Italy, and was not able to leave 200 meters (0.1 miles) outside of my house without being threatened with fines or other punishments. So when I think of Italy now or Milan more… I get the feeling of claustrophobia. I feel the confinement I felt for those 85 long days. I feel sad, and reminded of the life I lived and emotions I felt for all of those days of being alone.
Do not get me wrong. If I was given an opportunity to stay here in Milan (I.e. a job, internship or something to help support me and get me to my next phase in life) I will. But I have this overwhelming feeling inside that it is time to move on. I am also aware this is 2020 and we cannot plan for anything these days further than what you may eat for dinner the next day.
The current stage we are in, in school is finishing our field projects, and we’ll be having a career day soon to hopefully get exposure to companies, brands, and people to help us obtain our internships and jobs for the future. And I have had interviews and meetings with companies abroad on my own.
So now we wait. I don’t want to worry about “what’s next” too much or “when I am coming home” because I don’t want too, nor do I know.
Until next time.
P.S. Also don’t forget to vote!! Vote early if you can!!