So, graduation season just ended and is also right around the corner for my August babies. I just want to say a huge congratulation to all the new graduates. All the blood, sweat and tears were worth it; don’t let anybody tell you otherwise or compare the amount of money you’ll make after college to the amount of money an exotic dancer makes overnight.
Also, congratulations to those people know exactly what they’re doing after college. You might have just got accepted into that prestigious graduate program or you might have just been offered that coveted job from a fortune 500 company. That is awesome and again, I say congratulations! Well done and well-deserved!
For many others, however, this is not the case. Their first question after the dust settles is “soooo this is it? what next?”
This was my question, after I graduated, especially since I had an unrealistic expectation for after college. My unrealistic expectation was thinking I would be a millionaire right out of college. That’s what I had been told and that was what had been hammered into my head. Nobody told me that, although this was very feasible, it wasn’t always immediate. I wasn’t told that the grind does not stop after college, it merely begins.
What nobody prepared me for is the unrealized or unmet expectations, the loneliness that creeps in, the friendships that fizzle out, and the intentionality it takes to hold on to old friendships and to build new ones.
Regarding unrealized or unmet expectations; people graduate college thinking they’ll have 5 job offers waiting for them, only for reality to find them at home, 5 months later, unemployed. Others expect to go to graduate or professional school immediately. Alas that’s not the case. Others might find themselves in jobs that are unrelated to their degree or even find themselves doing jobs that they could have done without a degree. Like huh? This is not what I signed in the terms and conditions. But please don’t let this deter you. Instead, do some self-reflection. If you don’t already have a vision, then find a vision- stick to it and let it be your motivator.
If you don’t go straight into that graduate program or professional school that you wanted to get into, it’s okay! Take that year or two off to work; build your resume, travel, relax, try new things, create new experiences. Schooling or education doesn’t have to be the totality of your life experiences. Also, think creatively and find alternative ways to do what you want to do. Just because plan A did not work doesn’t mean plan B will fail. For instance, if medical school is the goal and you didn’t get in on the first round, do a post-baccalaureate, get your masters, work as a scribe for a year etc. Understand that many paths lead to the same destination. This can be applied to life in general. Don’t be too rigid or too strict when it comes to plans- be flexible.
Financially, after college it is very OKAY to go back home and live with your parents or a family member! Nobody had to tell me this one. A’int nobody got time to be paying $1000+ for basic shelter alone. Is Bill Gates my daddy? Please. In fact, it might even be a wise decision overall. The money you would have been using to pay for rent and other bills can go towards a savings account or go towards paying student loans if you have them. Don’t spend money unnecessarily to keep up with the Jones or make your post-graduate life look more glamorous than it is. Let go of this unrealistic standard of independence that society has placed on us. Who told you had to be rooftop living, latest car driving, designer wearing as a fresh college graduate? Please. Live within your means and budget budget budget!
Anyway, the fun thing about college is that the experience is unmatched. You meet some of your closest friends there. These people might come from states or countries that you cannot pronounce or have never even heard off. The sucky thing is that everyone goes back home or move to different cities after college. Suddenly, that support system that you had is no longer there. The people that you could easily hit up at 3am, after a long night of studying, to get some tacos with you are now 6 hours away. The friends that you could watch movies with until 5am in the morning now live in a different time zone than you do. It’s the little things that we take for granted that now begin to be magnified. It’s the little things like this that are overlooked. It’s the things like this that no one prepares us for. This was especially real and difficult for me since I graduated college a semester early. All my friends were still together, and I would watch their snaps or see their posts while I was eating apple and honey roasted peanut butter by myself. Sad ting. The solution I had for this was to try new things. I also kept busy by indulging in things I enjoyed and trying new things. I read books, started my graduate program, started a new job, tried new fitness regimens, AND grew my relationship with God. That’s who kept me sane and grounded. God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t easy being removed for my community and I was unprepared for it, but God.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
1 Peter 5:7-10
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Post-college, it might seem like everyone is doing better than you or doing good but you. ISSAAALIE WE ALL STRUGGLING…sometimes. Not trying to glorify struggling, just trying to make a point that the grass always seems greener on the other side. Instead of worrying about their grass, tend to your own.
Sure, adulthood is not all that its cracked up to be, but it is not as scary as people make it out to seem. Just like every season in our life, there’s some good and there’s some bad; It’s all about perspective and what you are feeding your mind. If you’re stuck on how good college was, you might miss out this new season and how enjoyable it is- and it is enjoyable. Just like college is what you made of it, adulthood is also what you make of it. If you’re holding on to what was, you’ll never receive what is. College is not meant to be the best time of your life.
People often say their college experience was a movie. Well, movies typically have sequels; it’s up to you to make adulthood the best sequel ever like toy story 2 or the worst sequel ever like (insert your worst movie sequel).
For me, I have been out of college for a year and a half now, and in this time, I have learned a lot about myself and I have grown a lot. Although I do miss college, I know there’s more for me out here and I can honestly say I am enjoying this “grown” season.
What I have come to realize is that college is simply a step in the right direction towards a destination, but it is not the end of the journey. It’s a foundation and experience that prepares you for the real journey.
Cheers to these 20 somethings and God bless these 20 somethings.