I graduated from University in December of last year with a 3.6 GPA and a Communication degree. I saw my friends who were graduating before me getting big paychecks, buying new cars, and getting engaged.
For a while, I didn’t know where I’d end up. I wasn’t ready for all that, but I knew there would be a certain amount of pressure to move towards that direction after graduation. That’s the way it goes.That’s what I was “supposed” to do.
The feeling I got when thinking about that future bothered me. I couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let myself ignore what others were doing and do me. By this point, I was a semester away from graduating and I had to start preparing for a big life move. Yet, I had no clue what move that would be.
How did people react?
Initial announcements to friends and family about my decision to move back to Europe were responded with by silence. No one knew what to say. I have a close-knit support group between friends and family. I could tell what they were thinking; they wanted to tell me I was making a mistake.
This kind of attitude is because few people make this kind of decision in their life – much less right after graduation when it has been engraved in us that we must be quick to layout our career.
I knew this, but I didn’t quite buy into it. So I moved continents and never thought twice about it. Something in me told me that Europe was where I needed to be for several reasons.
Some of my family members, although never opposed me, never expressed any encouragement either which made it a bit more difficult. They wanted everything good in life for me but didn’t think this was a smart way to start my career. They didn’t understand that starting my career when I wasn’t ready for it would lead to a life of “what-if’s” like they had.
Fast forward a month; my car sold, belongings donated, and the two boxes in the closet of my old room at home were the only things I would have left to return to if I decided to ever move back to America. I was in Europe with my whole life packed into a backpack that weighed 12 pounds.
The job hunt in a new city
As I promised I wouldn’t bum around for too long in Europe, I started looking for a job almost immediately after settling into a home in the country of Malta. Not a permanent job, though. I planned on one part-time job at a time whether it was teaching English, bartending, or freelance writing.
As I was strolling Coastal Road passing my CV on to every restaurant that had an open door, I came across Diveshack Malta – a scuba diving school in the city of Sliema. As soon as I envisioned spending my summer on the beach at a dive shack, my eyes lit up.
I didn’t have much to offer the company (no experience in diving), but I figured I would give it a try. I entered the store and offered the manager help with marketing and social media for no pay (I needed a company to sponsor my way to stay longer than my 90-day visa).
In exchange, the manager agreed to offer me free scuba courses working towards my Dive Master; a pretty sweet deal – have you seen how expensive scuba certifications are??
Spending the summer on the beach
We agreed to call it an “internship”, but, it has been anything but that so far. I spend every day on the beach watching the waves crash into the rocky cliffs of Malta. I take photos of customers who eventually become friends from all over the planet. It doesn’t seem like it can get much better at this point. Oh, except for the fact that I am able to join on dives and call it a “job”.
Although it’s not summer yet, the weather in Malta is reaching summertime temperatures for the rest of the world. I will stay at the Diveshack through the summer and by then I will have achieved Divemaster which enables me to work at almost any scuba destination in the world; a great way to earn extra cash while traveling and without dealing with contracts. I’m already anxious for the friends that I will make this summer and psyched to keep pushing myself to further and further depths under the sea. Luckily, I’ll be able to keep my sunglasses after many times of jumping into the sea with them. Rheos Gear has designed quality sunglasses that float.
What if I never took this opportunity?
When I look at where my life would be if I was still in Kansas City, I feel fulfillment. I wasn’t ready to be a puppet to the system, so I decided to put my career on pause. Looking at the bigger picture, it won’t affect the rest of my career as everyone thought it would. I know I did the right thing for me and for that I’m overjoyed.
The point of this story wasn’t to brag of my current situation (although I do find it to be pretty sweet). It was to inspire others who aren’t ready to commit to a career to do something different with their lives. I’m happy with where I ended up, and there’s a feeling like this for every post-graduate out there.
**UPDATE: Although my time with Diveshack was cut short, I still thank all of my colleagues and excellent instructors for the time I spent with them. It’s unfortunate that the Diveshack owner lacks respect and decency because it is tainting the reputation of a company that has the potential to be world class.
Feel free to email me to connect or follow my social media through the links at the top of this page!