What do you do when life doesn’t quite go as planned?

I wish I had an answer to that question. Truth be told, life rarely goes as planned. At least, not mine. Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s been 2 years (and 5 days) since I got my MPH (a degree I knew I wanted since my junior year in college) and I’ve only worked for 6 weeks. Yes, you read that right – 6 weeks. Today, I’m sitting at home in Ghana, up to my neck in student loan debt, trying to figure out exactly what I’m doing with my life. Let me back track a bit…

On the 24th of May 2015, I graduated with my Master’s degree in Public Health. As I walked across that stage to receive my diploma (written completely in Latin btw), I was a mixed bag of emotions – excitement, relief, accomplishment, sadness, anxiety and confidence. I finally achieved my dream degree, now all that was left was to work with an international healthcare organization helping to create equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare for those who need it the most. I would also get a doctorate in public health (DrPH) at some point. Although I was graduating without any job offers, I was confident that it was only a matter of time before I got one or several. Most people I spoke to said it usually takes an average of 6 months to get a job – I refused to believe that, I was quite convinced that there was no way I would survive being unemployed for that long, boy was I wrong. My first job offer came almost 11 months after graduating, and just a week shy of my 1 year gradu-versary, I started working. It was a great job. I loved my coworkers and manager – I got 2 weeks of orientation and training, I was given time to study, to familiarize myself with the software that we used – it was more than I could have asked for. A month into the job, I was given my first mini-assignment and my manager was impressed with the quality of my work. Two weeks later, I had to stay home from work while we waited to hear back about my work visa (my employment authorization had expired). I was supposed to be back at work a week later, at the latest, but here I am more than 10 months later and still not back at work.

To say it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a journey would be the understatement of the year. On good days, I’m optimistic and excited to see how it’ll all work out, on other days, I am filled with doubt, anxiety and frustration. All I’ve ever wanted is to find my purpose in this life, my calling if you would, to become an expert and leader in my field and for the work I do to make a difference in the lives of people globally.  I don’t doubt that I’ll still be able to achieve it someday but I wonder how many more ‘detours’ and ‘side streets’ I’ll have to take before getting there. So, what do I do when each day that goes by feels like I’m not getting any closer to my destination – I remember how far I’ve come. I thank God for my family and my friends who have supported me along this journey; I get on my knees and I vent my frustrations and cry out to the One who made me, who reminds me every day that the thoughts He has for me are of peace and not of evil, to give me a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11); His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts than mine (Is 55:8); all things will work together for my good (Rom 8:28); I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13); He loves me with an everlasting love (Jer.31:3); I try to remind myself of these truths every single day, sometimes multiple times a day until it sinks in, until doubt is quieted, until the peace that surpasses all understanding fills my heart.

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