Post-Graduation life varies for different people, some reach the summit right away but there’s some who struggle and I’m no exception.

Friday, December 16, 2016.

I made my farewell speech during the last 15 minutes of my 24-hour show at KUOI-FM Moscow 89.3, expressing my love for the station and my unfadeable passion to play music.

After drinking several bottles of Coca-Cola (not on-air), eaten a dozen Jimmy John’s sandwiches and played hundreds of songs, it finally hit me that my college days was over.

Once Aerosmith’s “Dream On” concluded, it was the end of a roller coaster senior year filled with countless hours of video projects, battling with others for what I believed in and pushing myself to graduate a semester early.

When I left the snowy, frozen tundra in Moscow that day, little did I knew it would lead to a series of unfortunate events I wasn’t prepared to handle.

Coincidentally, I was sick for the remainder of 2016 and most of January. Not a great way to start the year but my mind was focusing on getting a NASCAR internship or start working right away.

In between those tasks, I put together a five-minute video of the Idaho volleyball team. I had about six games filmed and condensed six hours of footage down to a highlight reel like you’d see on ESPN at the end of the year. It took days to finish but came out well and one of my proudest works thus far.

There was no vacation break, I kept applying for different organizations but reality hit hard as I’ve taken more losses than the Cleveland Browns.

Several no-calls, no responses (ex. Moscow-Pullman Daily News) and instant rejects (ex. KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle) later, January became March.

I haven’t been hired from any media outlet and only received two call-backs, the NASCAR Diversity internship I wanted and Seattle Storm. I wasn’t offered a position to join their team. Worse, I never got a second interview from NASCAR.

May came along and another crop of students graduated from Idaho, I only had one job offer. Guest service at CenturyLink Field. I accepted the job. Shortly after getting a job, I was also informed by my KUOI peers I earned Employee of the Year for the station.

How did I find out? A video sent to me via Facebook Messenger while I was on my way of getting a haircut. Days later, I picked up my award when we visited my brother who was ready to get out of Idaho and transfer to Central Washington University.

It was my proudest moment because I achieved my number one goal in Idaho I set in 2013, making a difference at the university. As my name is now etched in a plaque at the third floor of the Bruce Pittman Center, I relished the moment. To that point, it was the highlight of the year but it was short lived.

I had no jobs or internships lined up this summer and for the first time since 2009, I wasn’t at Cispus nor in California at either my relative’s place or attending a NASCAR race at Sonoma Raceway.

This is where I also realized some people I once thought had my back turned against me because of my constant failures. I’m self-aware the comment sounds delusional but for years, I’ve tried to please people. This summer has taught me that if I can’t please anyone, then I should prioritize taking care of myself.

Those frustrations drove me insane and I became complacent. Disappointments turned into bitterness because I wasn’t working for a media outlet and questioned if graduating early was worth the hassle. I wasn’t genuinely happy except for a couple catch-ups with people.

My body also has taken its toll. I’ve struggled sleeping and had breathing difficulties when I wake up. I’ve put stress on myself because of the possible fear my 2-year-old brother is showing signs of autism, it has been some unhealthy times.

My confidence level had hit rock bottom as my multimedia classmates had their moment in the sun with internships and media jobs. Hard to accept but good for them.

At least I have a job that has treated me well so far and it will only get better a Seahawks season is upon us. If I survived the madness known as a Metallica—Gojira and Avenged Sevenfold also performed—concert last Wednesday, I’m ready for any task.

While I’m working at CenturyLink Field, I have three projects I’m working on. The first one focuses on a nine-part series about NASCAR television graphics. The other two are close to home that requires a group of people to help, belongingness and autism.

Both speeches are done but finding people and a setting to shoot both videos are still in pre-production. I’d like to finish both videos either at the end of the year or at least the autism video just in time for Autism Awareness Month next April.

Projects aside, I will still apply for other jobs so I can get my own place and have my own car. That is my goal I’d like to achieve in the next year. I want to say to myself, I’ve achieved legitimate independence and no longer rely on others to make me happy before the age of 25.

As far as my multimedia career is concerned, I’m still writing about racing on my site with plans of applying for different media outlets that is racing centric. Whether it’s returning to Moscow, moving to another state like North Carolina or covering racing at home, any media job will make the struggles worth it.

If I were to describe the past eight months, it’s yearning.

It has been a negative year from a personal and professional life. I’m not the same person I was in December when I said goodbye to Idaho. I’ve lost trust on some people and been difficult to deal with at times but one thing never died and that’s my hunger.

In a period where hate and anything that isn’t ideal being devalued, my passion has remained attached. I’ve learned to embrace the things I’ve had and use it to my advantage.

One thing I didn’t do after graduating from Granite Falls High School in 2013 was embrace the memories without being dissatisfied. Despite this year’s struggles, I’ve learned how fun it was being a college student and living a workaholic life. I thank my high school Psychology teacher for that. I’ve learned to have fun while I was at Idaho, it made me a better person.

All of us have our share of struggles, some can overcome it right away but others take time. There’s no shame in struggling, we should at some point. It’s called growing up.

These past eight months has been a period of growth and finding my identity. It will continue into September, October and next year. Am I satisfied with where I am? Not really but last week gave me some hope.

For the first time since making my volleyball highlight video, I had new content. Photos of Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. I’ve also written an article about the race and despite nearly stiffing a condescending prick, it felt refreshing covering an event. I wasn’t getting paid or working for the track, at least I was happy when I arrived at the track.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My goal is to build on the momentum and excel at my job at CenturyLink Field or have the finances to cover events such as racing or local gatherings. If I wanted to, I’d kill to shoot footage for campsites such as Cispus. If I wanted to, I’d return to Moscow and do local events and see where it’ll take me. Those are risks I’m willing to take to build my resume and any lost confidence has been regained. Not too bad for 22-year-old journeyman.

As summer fades into fall, students will make their way to college. Some are starting their journey to greatness, others are on the last step towards graduating. College is an important chapter to a person’s life. It will kick your ass.

There will be times where college may be frustrating with its politics and difficult demands but it’s part of the build of becoming a great person, the way you want it to be.

It’s how you harness the situation that’ll prepare you for the challenge when the days of studying for the big exam and partying are over. Take the time to cherish the accomplishments and be proud of the effort.

Do not let it pass you by, enjoy the merits and have fun. You’ll never know what you had before it slipped away.

Published by Luis Torres

University of Idaho graduate that's currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

%d bloggers like this: