I did it. I graduated college. It’s been a few months since the big event, and I have some reflective thoughts to share now.
Graduating, in itself, is a huge success. The celebrations were great, and being finished with all my assignments was an amazing feeling. But it’s also been fairly cataclysmic. I don’t know what I want to do, or who I want to be. For the past 17 years I’ve always known what I was doing the next year. There were some ups and downs, but going to school was still a constant in my life. I didn’t have to worry about “figuring my life out” because there was always “time for that”.
College helped guide me in a vague direction with a major and minor. English and film. Two of my greatest interests. If I could have been a quadruple major I would’ve added in History and Acting.
Yet, I still don’t know exactly what I want to do. I like to write. I like to write blog posts and web content. I like to write fiction. I like to write screenplays. How do I choose? Do I have to choose?
Then there’s the location problem. I’m not the biggest fan of NYC or LA. Big cities, with a lot of air pollution and traffic. I’d rather move to London, but getting that visa is nearly impossible. I don’t want to move somewhere completely new by myself. How do people make friends when they don’t have classes? All of my friends are from school. On top of that, all the friends who graduated with me went to grad school. Is that what I should be doing? Will that help? Do I risk the debt?
And then there’s the process of finding a job. In what world does an entry-level job require 3-5 years of experience? Apparently in this one. How are you supposed to graduate and find a job in your field when every single entry-level job requires experience? They expect you to have have all this prior experience, but there aren’t any opportunities available to get that experience. How do you get someone to take a chance on you an overlook the experience aspect?
You need internships… Except most internships don’t want to pay you! So you’re expected to work for free and begin paying back school loans (plus you may have to pay rent and buy food if you can’t live with your parents for free). It’s insane. The system is stacked against us.
The best way to describe my life right now? Purgatorio. I’m settled in back home with a barista job, but it’s all temporary. Every day is a constant struggle between trying to live this “temporary” life and work on new things to start my “real” life. It’s stressful and confusing. I feel like I have an ongoing stomach ache of anxiety and nerves.
I’m definitely not alone in this stressful transition though. Most post-grads feel some kind of intense pressure these days. Whether it’s my situation, starting grad school, or starting a new job in a new city. The sudden change is difficult. Your twenties are supposed to be a time when you’re young, bright, and free… but it’s also a time when you’re stressed out, confused, and exhausted.
My advice? Make a lot of lists, take time for yourself, and breathe.
* Will bake cookies for the entire office every week if you hire me. *