Written by Jessica Champagne
Transitioning out of college and into the “real world” can be an exciting yet challenging time in your life. You are faced with the daunting task of choosing which direction you want your life to go in, and if that direction directly or indirectly includes a career that you just spent the past four years studying. For me, that was psychology. I spent a great deal of time in a research lab, even conducting research of my own after being awarded a grant during my senior year. I attended multiple conferences and earned an end-of-year award based on this research. I had an amazing professor who mentored me and facilitated these experiences. By the time I graduated, I thought moving forward into a masters degree program to continue my education and research in the field of psychology was a no-brainer. Except it wasn’t that simple.
Although I had become very passionate about psychology, there was another area of my life that I was equally passionate about: horses. I have been riding since I was four years old and was fortunate enough to own horses and take care of them in my backyard since I was eight years old. I began teaching riding lessons and offering training services during high school. In college, I worked at multiple barns and was the assistant barn manager for two years at a large facility. While my college education was evolving, so was my education in the equine industry. So when it came time to graduate, choosing a career path really was not that simple.
My last semester of college was spent going over many different career paths and struggling with a decision that seemed to be impossible. Should I go on to get my masters degree in psychology? Or should I further my career in the equine industry? Should I move out of state? I sought guidance from my professor, my boss and mentor at the barn I was managing, my parents, and my friends. I felt as though I was unable to make the “right” decision. Every time I changed my mind, I was met with, “are you sure that’s what you want to do?”, and, “once you pick this, you need to stick with it for (x amount of time)”.
So I chose something that felt “safe” to me at that time. I moved back in with my parents to save on rent and worked at a job that, while it used my psychology degree, I felt as though it wasn’t quite the right fit for me. Three months later, I found myself searching for a new adventure. I was back to browsing barn management jobs anywhere between New York and Florida. I was lucky enough to know a professional at that time who was looking for someone just like me. So within three weeks, I had quit my job, packed everything that I owned into my truck, and moved myself and my dog to Florida.
That was September 2018 - now we are in August 2020. Since that move to Florida, I have switched jobs three times, moved four times, and officially incorporated my own business, along with picking up a pretty cute boyfriend and another puppy along the way. I have discovered more about myself in these past two years than I ever have in my whole life. I learned that, despite feeling as though I had little encouragement, it is absolutely okay to try new things. I learned that there is no time limit for sticking with a job just to see if it will “work out”, even when you already know in your gut that it won’t. I learned that taking a huge leap does not mean you are committed to that endeavor forever. I learned that, above all else, there is always time to change your mind.
Written by Jessica Champagne
To learn more about Jessica: https://www.instagram.com/pinepointequestrian/