“We’re sorry. The job you are trying to reach requires seven master’s degrees. Also, you must speak twenty languages and be able to solve a Rubik’s cube in thirty seconds or less. You do not qualify.”
I bet everyone on this train is on their way to work. That’s what I think as I hop onto the 7:18, curl up next to a window and dig in the bottom of my bag for my train ticket. I’m qualified. I can read and write and walk in a straight line. Constant rejection has a way of stripping you of your confidence, though, and of your purpose, and replaces it with a weight of uncertainty so heavy you almost don’t want to keep trying.
Okay, so I’ve never had a real job before. I’m less than a month shy of earning a second bachelor’s degree. I only speak one language, and a little Spanish, too. I remember a few letters in Braille. I have never solved a Rubik’s cube. But I’m not letting the skills I do have go to waste.
My Role at Second Sense
I spend about 10 hours a week hovering over Second Sense’s social media calendar. You don’t know how much work goes into communications and social media management for a nonprofit organization until you offer up a healthy portion of your fall semester to experience it from the inside out. It’s an unpredictable combination of language, audience recognition and careful strategizing. An editorial calendar becomes a lifeline. Not quite as complex as a Rubik’s cube, but close.
Why I Volunteered
A large percentage of recent college graduates have diplomas collecting dust in their bedrooms, and no job to make that $100K piece of paper worth a cent. I know I’m not alone. Something happens when you postpone the hopeless job search and use that time to help someone else, though. Over time, you realize your work does not go unnoticed, no matter how many big shot employers toss your resume aside.
Volunteering with Second Sense has opened my eyes to what it means to live a simpler, selfless life. Not easy; not limited; simple. I’m constantly watching ordinary people come in here for no reason other than to better their own lives, while I try not to wallow in my unemployment. They cook, they type, they paint, they knit. With those skills, they venture back out into the world and live extraordinary lives. They don’t let vision loss stop them. They make a difference every day, even if they don’t know it.
With every tweet, Facebook post, program description and more, I’m making a difference, too. Social media is a marketing strategy like no other. It gives supporters of an organization instant access to your content, your opinions, your mission, sometimes in 140 characters or less. With just a few clicks, someone with vision loss who wants to learn how to knit a blanket can learn about taking a class. Maybe they’ll donate that blanket to someone who doesn’t have one.
What I Discovered
College graduates over-analyze everything. Why didn’t I get that job? What does that other person have that I don’t? Do THEY have seven master’s degrees? Did that post make sense? What kind of train ticket should I buy? Why haven’t I learned how to knit?
I may never earn more than one master’s degree or speak a second language fluently. I don’t even own a Rubik’s cube. But I can purchase a train ticket, write a tweet about accessible technology and make a difference in someone’s life one day at a time.
You don’t have to be a CEO or even a star employee to change the world. Recognize the talents you do possess, move beyond the limitations you’ve previously set for yourself and volunteer your time to give back to a worthwhile cause. Volunteering at Second Sense only has one qualification: be willing to use what you already know to help someone else learn something new. In reminding someone of their purpose in this world, you will, without a doubt, rediscover your own.