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10 years ago I graduated with a BFA in graphic design. Each May I think back to that point. For a lot of people graduating and finding a job in NYC sounds like an exciting time. For me, it was a real low point and was really stressful. I had just signed a year lease with 2 roommates—one of them was the most toxic person I’ve ever met. I had enough (loan) money for about 3 months of rent. My student loan repayments were going to kick-in soon. The countdown to find a job was on. I was interning at a studio in Union Square during my final spring semester. I continued interning there after graduation. The pay as an intern was not enough to live on, but they'd been dangling the promise of full-time like a carrot for a few months now. At that point, I was working there full-time, but not being compensated as a junior designer; even though I replaced the role of their previous junior designer. That’s illegal btw. Besides that, the work and environment of the place made me question if I even liked what I was doing. Aside from the creative director being incredibly toxic, there was a big disconnect between school and “the real world” for me. I questioned if the last four years of my life were wasted on me. I dreaded going in every day and my existence was miserable.
All of this combined made me into an anxious, unhappy, and irritable person. I was a horrible person to be around. The opportunities I had were a privilege, but mental health doesn’t care. Someone might appear to be at a good place in life, and they might look like they’ve got it under control, but maybe they don’t. We don’t all interpret parts of life the same way. What looks good, might actually be hell for someone. May is mental health awareness month. Check on your friends.
Btw, I never got offered a full-time position. Myself and 2 out of 6 people who worked there quit around the same time —they had enough too. I left for a freelance opportunity at another studio and I moved out of that apartment a year later. My toxic roommate still owes me for electric.