May 1, 2021
In January of 2020 I finally moved to my dream city to start my dream internship. I moved into a brick townhome with a bright pink front door, just two blocks from the Capitol Building. Washington, D.C. felt like home, and I spent each day grateful to be there, hoping my internship would lead me to a full-time position (there or anywhere else). I was happy.
Well, you all know how 2020 went for most people, and it was no different for me. I was sent home from my internship program little more than halfway through the program, required to finish my internship remotely. Fast forward to June, I had finished the internship and was sleeping the days away on my living room couch, not eating enough, and feeling a deep sense of purposelessness. And that continued. I spent the summer applying to over a hundred jobs and got a single interview that didn’t go anywhere. By the time winter rolled around, darker days just meant more sleeping.
In January of 2021, I found a therapist. She gave me answers I’d been subconsciously looking for since High School. Clinical Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, and disordered eating. It was a lot. And hearing it all sent me to a worse place than before. But here’s the thing. It really did get better. I connected with a Psychiatrist and found a treatment that works for me. Now, nearing the end of April, I’m constantly surprised by how the little things like cleaning the house or taking a shower have gotten so much easier. Realizing that depression may have been a part of me long before it crippled me entirely gave me clarity. Realizing that I wasn’t just lazy, sleepy, and useless, was freeing. Now that I understand myself a little more and have medication giving me some balance, I’m making plans again.
I graduated from college in 2019 with degrees in Political Science, International Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. A career in politics or social justice was my future. Or so I thought. Being sent home after making it to D.C. did something to me that I can’t quite name. I’m still passionate about politics and social causes, but I started to feel like maybe it wasn’t meant to be. I’m also realizing as of late that I am very likely too soft for politics.
So, my therapist told me to take an aptitude test, and see if anything stuck out that piqued my interest. I quickly rediscovered my love for editing. Several aptitude tests told me editor, author, publisher, and several other occupations. The more I thought about it, the more it felt right. And then I discovered freelancing. Before my next meeting with my therapist, I had already signed up for Fiverr, applied for a copyediting certificate with UC San Diego, and completed my first beta reading gig with my first Fiverr client. I have never felt as inspired and motivated as I do today, and just saying that blows me away.
The point of my story is that freelancing is giving me the hope and the flexibility to create the career of my dreams. I’m selling my art alongside my editing gigs, and plan to start copywriting soon. I’m endlessly grateful that I found myself again and then stumbled upon this opportunity.
If you’re reading this and you’re feeling the deep effects of the last year, or have just been struggling for a while, find your love. Find it, and make money doing it. You can, and you will enjoy it. I’ve barely made any money yet, and I do. I’m scared daily that I might not make it as a freelancer, but taking it day by day and practicing for the next client who takes a chance on me keeps the fire lit.
I recently discovered a quote by author Jamie Varon that I’d like to share with you:
“What if you simply built a lovely life that makes you feel happy, that brings you joy, that is generative and supportive? What if you healed the parts of you that need more and more and more? What if you redefined what success looks and feels like to you? … What if you realized your life is likely a lot closer to your ideal than you ever thought? What if changing the filter in which you view your life makes everything that much more vibrant? How much open empty space would be left for your joy if you stopped thinking you needed to earn it?”
I discovered this at the exact moment that I was already realizing that maybe I didn’t need a big world-changing political career, and maybe success looked like me finding out what truly brought me joy and inner peace. I hope you all can find the same. If you need me, I’ll be watering my plants or sitting in the sunshine with my dog, waiting for my next opportunity to do what I love so much.
Jenna is a 23-year-old from Syracuse, New York with a B.A. and B.S. from SUNY Brockport. She is new to freelancing but hopes to make it a full-time occupation in the near future. She is passionate about social justice issues and hopes to incorporate that passion into her freelancing work at some point along with her love for travel, YA novels, and music. On top of copyediting, beta reading, and eventual copywriting, Jenna sells her art as well.
Jenna lives in Syracuse with her Boxer, Faith, and loves to spend time on the lake. When she’s not working towards gaining clients, you can find her reading fantasy novels or taking care of her houseplants.