Graduating from college is hard. It’s the start of the rest of your life. Students don’t always have a job set up for them right out of college. The job search is hard, and most students don’t end up with a job in their major.
Former University of Houston student, Daniela Machado, knows about this all too well.
Machado originally graduated with a broadcast journalism degree, and said she thought that news was her passion.
“I always thought of myself as the type of person that would be in front of a camera talking about news,” Machado said. “Ever since I was really young, I always loved being in front of the camera. I love news. I loved watching it happen on TV and acting like I was doing it too. It was something that I grew up always looking up to, and it was definitely like a passion that I wanted to fulfill.”
However, after beginning her degree, she soon realized that maybe journalism wasn’t what she wanted to pursue. During her time at UH, Machado realized that her classes were teaching her hard news, but her passion was with lifestyle and entertainment.
“Even though there’s a huge lifestyle journalism community out there, I feel like I didn’t learn much about that side of journalism,” Machado said. “I feel like that’s why I kind of started stepping away from wanting to do that in the future.”
It was at this moment in time when Machado began to look into her minor. After careful consideration, she chose retail and consumer science.
“I kind of went through a list of minors that I could graduate with,” Machado said. “And I was like, oh, Retail and Consumer Science, that’s so me; I would totally love that. I would love to learn what the stores specifically do to communicate to the customer, certain messages. Certain seasons have certain colors and what attracts a customer into the store or attracts a customer onto your website.”
However, despite this, Machado still wanted to use her major after graduation, just not with journalism. She said that being a communications major, she thought she could expand her job search.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19, she never found internships, and because of the experience levels jobs were asking for, she was limited on the jobs she could apply for that fell within the communication realm. Machado applied to jobs such as social media managers and digital marketing. She never received offers for any of these jobs. It was at this point that she knew she had to stray from her major and go back to her minor.
Machado said that this terrified her. All her classmates were getting amazing jobs while she was afraid of looking like a failure, but she knew that she had to do what made her happy.
“I’m not living life for anybody else,” Machado said. “I like my minor, I really do. You can’t just start at the top. Most people don’t start at the top.”
After months of searching for a job, Machado accepted a position as sales associate at Free People. She knows that this is the bottom position for her minor, but still, she’s happy to accept it.
Machado says that she can still apply things she learned in school to this position, and that by accepting this position, she is getting to mix her love for fashion and communication. She says that her minor taught her how to style the mannequins, keep customers happy, and how to make a store welcoming. Whereas with her major, she learned how to talk to people.
Although she didn’t get the conventional office job out of college, Machado is still happy with her choice, and she hopes that she can grow with the company.
“The goal is to get up there at some point,” Machado said. “And maybe 10 years from now, I have so much experience that I’ve grown with the company from the very bottom that I’m knowledgeable enough to get a marketing or advertising job with their corporate office. That’s the goal.”
As for those students who may find themselves in the same boat as Machado, she wants them to know that it’s OK to not achieve all the goals you may have set for yourself at the beginning of college.
“I feel like the best thing to do is just live life,” Machado said. “Try your best to be happy every day with everything that you do, and be the most sincere version of yourself you can be.”
Photo courtesy of Daniela Machado