Figuring Out Life After College
Some of you may have graduated last spring and some are getting ready to graduate this May. Some of you may have graduated two years ago or even more. No matter when you graduated or plan to graduate, you will never be ready for the “real world”. I graduated in May of 2017 and have been working for six months now, and I still don’t understand this whole adulting thing. I’m going to be honest, it’s A LOT tougher than I thought. I mean working a nine to five job all while grocery shopping, makings meals, going to the gym, AND finding time for friends and family. I just don’t understand how anyone does it all.
I graduated with a degree in a Criminal Justice and I landed my dream first job, that I am currently working. I love it, it is seriously everything I’ve wanted and more and will set me up for a great career. But, for some reason I can’t seem to shake this “I have to work 8 hours everyday” kind of thing. Do any of you feel this way? My commute to work is about an hour and a half each way, and it really takes a toll on my day; so maybe that's why. I just miss being able to wake up and go to the gym before class and than go grocery shopping after, all while it’s still light out. Being in college is tough, between the projects, papers, time for friends and learning how to live on your own. But it is also amazing, meeting complete strangers and growing so close over four years they become your best friends. It's kind of crazy how it all works if you think about it. Most of us live with our parents throughout our childhood until we are 18, and then most of us go to college to meet complete strangers and basically start a whole new chapter in life. If we're lucky, these strangers become our best friends and we never want to leave this life we have created for ourselves in such a short amount of time.
If you are anything like me, you thought you were ready for the real world but soon realized it came a bit too fast. I loved college, I played soccer for my school and lived with my best friends for three years. I lived in a classic college house with five other girls junior and senior year. It was really gross...the floors in the kitchen were always sticky, the carpet in the living room was stained, and the railing going upstairs was beginning to break. Oh, and not to mention the hole in our kitchen wall...but I LOVED it. That house was our home and we made it just that. I loved it so much that I spent my summers there going into junior and senior year. I went to school in Rhode Island, so summers there were beautiful. I made a life for myself at college, between going to school, playing soccer and nannying for a family for three years. College was everything I could have dreamed of and more (not to sound cliche or anything). But yet, I was feeling excited to enter the real world; to make some real money and put to use what I had been learning for four years. I had this idea (and sometimes still do) that working everyday will offer so many more opportunities to see my friends and do things we could never do before because now we actually have money.
To say the least, I was wrong. Everybody is doing something a little bit different and trying to save money in whatever way they can, myself included. Most of my friends went to Boston, whereas I am in New York. We have car payments and school loans, along with everyday expenses we just didn't really think about in college. I laugh at myself now thinking I was going to have money to do weekend getaways and all....I mean really, what in the world was I thinking. But, as I said previously, I have a job that I enjoy and I really can't complain about that.
Many of you may have had similar college experiences and are now working everyday and almost feel stuck. We no longer have the freedom to use our three "skips" we would get per semester, or the freedom to wear whatever we want to class. We now have to request time off and dress professionally. It's a lot different and the real world is not something I was fully prepared for, as much as I thought I was. Trying to figure out life after college is not easy, and I probably won't figure it out for another few years, at least. We become so accustomed to attending school every day, going to extracurricular activities that we are involved in, and doing homework. We then hit the real world and it's totally different. Yes, we no longer have "homework", but there is always work to do at home to better your performance at work. Life after college is just another change that we have to learn and grow from. Quite frankly, this adversity I am facing will definitely benefit me in the future. As it will for you if you are facing the same thing. There's no such thing as failing, just learning.
Today, I am taking the train to work and will take the train home after my 8 hours is done. I will enjoy my job, because it encompasses things I've always wanted to do. I will continue to figure my life out post graduation because I still don't know where I want to end up but that is the fun in it all. It is normal not to know. It is normal to want more out of your life. That is what keeps you pushing for the next best thing, to keep learning and growing as a person and an employee. My friends and I cherish the time we do spend together and never take it for granted. We will plan those fantasy trips in a few years, or at least I hope so. But none of us have it figured out after college and that is all OK. That is how it should be, because that is how we grow. If you can relate to any of this, please feel free to reach out or comment. This is all about growth and connecting with one another to help each other begin our next chapters.