F*CK YES. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. Focus on your school work first before worrying about employment. With your college training, you should be able to easily produce new portfolio work after graduation to increase your chance of employment.
Yes. Most often this is caused by pressure from your peers getting hired, and societal/school conditioning of employment before graduation has imbued fear into you on a psychological level which you cannot undo until you graduate. The point is: you will have that innate anxiety in you till you get your job; you just need to learn to accept that, and keep hoping for the best.
That is a saying in the Singapore army when we are given the order to fire at the practice range and that is
Own time own target
Here is a sample answer you can use:
" Thank you very much for the offer! Unfortunately, I am currently booked so I am unable to take on this position. However, I do look forward to future opportunities with working with your company"Something like thatI worded it better previously but I can't remember
The key word is " booked ". Personally, I see that word as a professional euphemism that does not reveal much, and you can use it for saying:
"I am busy with other projects"
"I have really important event to attend"
"I don't want to do it"
Of course, use the word with caution.
Tell your supervisor about your goals (eg. learning Houdini) even if it is out of your job scope, and have him/her link up with the right person to talk
Establish contact with the said person (Houdini artist/supervisor), and explain your plan
Start training yourself or work towards your goals; and send weekly updates to this person
With enough time and dedication, you should have built a rapport that allows said person to trust and work with you on projects
[tested and proven]
When I was employed in WarnerMedia Studios , an art director from Turner Classic Movies reviewed my portfolio and found interest in some of work specifically:
Cowboy Bebop process video
There comes a point when you have gained enough experience, skills and presence within your team that makes you think that you are ready for the next big thing. However, life does not work out like that. A company is in the end a business that operates on a financial engine. Here are some hypothetical situations why you won't get hired:
If your contract is 2 years, and you have not make your way to the end of it, why should a company pay more when they have you for two years?
If you left a job when there were not lots of projects going on, a company would not think so much your absence
If somehow you are about to leave before a crunch time and you are very much needed, wouldn't a company be more likely to keep you?
Urgency: Did you find and accept a job elsewhere that was offering better pay or benefits?
If so, your current company is obliged to make a decision quickly on keeping you through a promotion or a pay raise or benefits (overtime, bonus).
Dispensability & irreplaceability
You know you are awesome and great at what you do but do people know that? Especially in a big corporation or company where you have many teams such as design, edit, vfx/cg, production,etc.
5 tier of rapport (adapted from the Korenman's Freelance Manifesto)
Know > like > trust > worked with > need
Your endgame is obviously become a need for a company or within a team
Not feeling good enough you are at the workplace; and thinking that everyone is better than thus hindering your growth and potential
How to get better at what you do?
You completed your training at college. Now it is time to choose your adventure and craft your journey to improve your skills. Tutorials work great when you are learning something new but when it comes to improving existing skillsets, you will have to analyze works of masters or the professionals by copying the design or the animation. Review the video frame by frame and breakdown how a shot is done. Read Steal like an Artist to get a better idea about how copying improves your skills.
Staying within the comfort zone
Getting a job after a long period of waiting seems like a big break for you; it is possible take once you will grow stagnant after settling into a job or your comfort zone.
The key is to be self-aware of this fact and yourself. Plan to personal creative projects by using a Mathematical approach so you can balance work, life, self-care, and personal projects.