Twenty Something Struggle: Why Can’t I Be Happy?

Last Thursday was the start of a new series about life as a twenty something. If you haven’t read last weeks Twenty Something Advice: Don’t plan your life based on what other people expect I’d recommend it. The initial idea was to have a series of advice about life in your twenties from fellow twenty somethings, but today’s post is a struggle that many twenty somethings face.

This is a guest post by college friend Kristi. Kristi is a teacher, photographer, wife & friend. We met in the dorms at UNT in 2002.

teacher's classroom

My mom never wanted me to be a photographer, so I started out as a Vet Tech major in college. After a year I was still passionate about photography. I went to art school, but then I was too scared to go after what I wanted. After getting married and being stationed in a po-dunk town without options, I decided to become a teacher. I took a junior high/middle school art position. I’ve heard people say it’s the hardest job you’ll ever love. I have to say it is DAMN hard to teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders art. Every single one of them thinks they know everything, and really they know nothing. I can’t say that I love teaching yet, but I’m getting there. It’s been a hard start, but the kids are finally getting used to me and me to them. I don’t want just another job. I’ve had jobs since I was 10. I want to be at work but not feel like I am working. I want a life-long career that I love! I bitched about my job at UNT because it was too mindless. Now I have the most challenging career ever, and I’m still not happy.

Why I can’t I let myself be happy!!!

Probably because all I hear all day long is: Mr. So-and-so didn’t do it like that or we did this same thing last year.

Almost all of my classes consist of mixed grades: 7th with 8th graders or 6th and 7th graders together. My other 2 classes are just 8th graders and then just 6th graders. And to top it off, students at my school can take art every year! The new teacher doesn’t know how else to teach besides from the beginning, so it is so frustrating!!! Just when I think I’ve found a really cool project to do, I have to hear they’ve already done it or done something like it.

Teachers I teach with and ones I don’t teach with all say that the first year is the hardest. Almost every teacher I’ve talked to says that she wanted to quit during her first year. I’m sticking it out. Every week is getting a little better and more fun. I’m just ready to jump to the point where I really love it, and it’s not just another job.

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Do you have any advice/struggles/ideas about life as a twenty something? I am looking for more guest posts on this weekly topic.

6 thoughts on “Twenty Something Struggle: Why Can’t I Be Happy?

  1. I don’t know what to say besides no matter what it takes, find a job that makes you happy and stick with it. Don’t stick with a job and see if it will make you happy. You have to experiment with careers and not settle,just like with men, haha. I get the hint you want a job that deals with strictly photography?

    I agree, first year is the hardest;obviously it’s because you’re still learning the ins and outs of your school and getting to know your students,coworkers and principal. BUT, no matter HOW bad of a day I have, I can’t imagine having another job, or quitting. That’s how I know teaching is for me, and I think everyone should have a job like that. Those days I am not in the classroom, I miss my students;even the little weasels that cause me headaches sometimes.

    That’s just my two cents. I hope it helps!

  2. Your quest for happiness is not unusual, nor is it limited to twentysomethings
    or Gen Yrs. Believe it or not, happiness is realized not in what is received, but
    in what is given. In other words, don’t look to get happiness from your job, but
    rather look at your job as a vehicle for doing what you like. The satisfaction of liking
    what you do will bring happiness.

    Teaching is probably one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the world. However, the amount
    significance a teacher can have in a child’s life is so great, that teachers continue to
    teach because knowing they are having an impact in a child’s life is rewarding in itself.

    I think you will be happy when you quit thinking you will receive happiness from work and reaalize
    your happiness will come from what you give at work.

  3. You have to find a job you truly enjoy and have a knack for. I, myself, got my bachelor’s degree in education. By the time I did my student teaching and graduated, I found that I hated it. I was panic-stricken! I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I sure as hell knew I wasn’t going to waste my newly achieved degree. So, this is what I did…I got my master’s degree in Library and Information Science because I found out that it required a four-year degree, which I had. It took me one year to get my M.L.I.S. at Kent State University in Ohio. I couldn’t be happier. I am, now, a librarian. I specialize in young adult services so I still work with school-aged children, but I don’t have the stresses of teaching. I truly love librarianship and have a knack for it. My goal is to, one day, be a director of a public library. Do something you love. This may mean changing your career from teaching to something else, like I did. Best of luck and be happy!!! :)

  4. I was just thinking the same thing the other day. I graduated with a degree in fashion design. My dream was to get a job as a designer for a maternity design company. I didn’t want to stop until I found that job. Although I had experience with internships in maternity design, I could not find a job to save my life. I worked a dumb dumb jobs as an office assistant, while spending every hour of my work week searching for something in my field. I didn’t think life could get any worse. Sunday nights were just terrible knowing I had to go back to that office for another 40 hours. Finally, through a school collleague, I was offered an internship (Paid). So, I packed up my entire life and moved across the country. Now, here I am a year later and wondering if I made a huge mistake. My job is not what I thought it would be. My coworkers aren’t how I thought they would be. And I feel like I have given up on my dreams. I always fantasize about walking into my boss’s office to put in my 2 weeks. Is the grass always greener on the other side?

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