‘Inside Out’ helped me feel better about life after college

By now you’ve probably heard that Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” is wonderful. I did too, so I went to see it this past weekend. I cried while watching the film in all the scenes that you would expect. But I also cried in ways I didn’t expect.

“Inside Out” has many messages, but the one that stood out the most to me was the idea that you can’t have joy without sadness. Not to give too much of the plot away, the emotion characters learn that no one emotion is better than the other and that you need all emotions to form a functioning person (in this case, the little girl Riley).

But I couldn’t help compare the joy without sadness in life to my current situation of being fresh out of college. I’m sure many young people can relate; being a college graduate is wonderful, but it really sucks.

I no longer have to go to class or write papers or take tests. Instead, I spend my days applying for job after job, half of which I get a rejection from because I don’t have enough experience. It’s the age old question: How do I get experience if I can’t get a job in the first place?

I’ve had a couple interviews. Some for jobs I forgot I even applied for because it takes employers so damn long to get back to you. I had two interviews for a job I really wanted and ended up not getting. I then had an absolute emotional breakdown in my mom’s car in the parking lot of a Target. I don’t remember a lot from my blind fear/rage of the breakdown, but I do remember yelling something like, “I should have never gone to journalism school! I’ll never find a job.”

After all my internships, extra curricular activities, and two college degrees, I still feel like no one wants to hire me. What am I doing wrong? Did I say the wrong thing in that interview? Did I spell something wrong in my cover letter? Did I not do a good enough job overall in selling myself? What if I still haven’t found a job by the end of the summer? Does that mean I’ll live with my parents forever?

So much anxiety and fear come with the unknown. For years I knew exactly what I was doing to get to this point in my life. And now that I’m here, I have no idea how to move forward. Sometimes I’m not even sure about what I want to do or where I want to go. It’s paralyzing at times.

But I was reminded while watching “Inside Out” that life is changing often. Things that I worried about when I was 11 are forgotten, tossed off a cliff and never heard from again. Things that were unknown a year ago worked themselves out eventually. And more importantly, sometimes I’ve been very sad like I am now, but I find my happiness again eventually.

You can’t have that joy without going through a detour of sadness first. I think I’ve always known that lesson, but needed a little Disney/Pixar to remind me. And when you really think about it, that’s what their films have been teaching me since I was young. Buzz and Woody learned how to find joy again after Andy left them. Nemo found joy again after his new friends helped him find his dad. Mike and Sully learned that you have to let some things go before you can truly understand them.

It’s funny that a simple kids’ movie was all it took to remind me what it’s like to be an adult.


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