While many experiences or different, let’s go with the stereotypical version of what college is like. You have finally found freedom from your parent’s overbearing control throughout your life. You probably have tried most drugs and have a handle on what alcohol is the one you can never drink again. While balancing your drug and sex life, you have somehow maintained a solid standing at the school and completed most classwork on time. You have joined clubs and activities and think that this is sort of hell, but you probably enjoy it all the same. Through classes, your professors talk about the ways in which you can incorporate sections of their classes into the real world. While you acknowledge this might be useful in your life, it still seems significantly far away, and that final paper due on Tuesday is not so far away. This doesn’t mean you brushed all information under the rug. It probably just didn’t dawn upon you what real life would look like outside of college. Let’s quickly break it down.
You have graduated, congratulations! You move back home because there probably wasn’t a job lined up after college. Assuming a global pandemic is still raging through the world, the job market will likely be more messed up than the average Big Mouth episode. You begin applying for jobs on a daily basis, creating a cover letter for each job you apply to. The only joy you probably are experiencing is your morning coffee. However, over the last few weeks, your mother will not stop talking about her morning Pilates while simultaneously prying into your sex life. After avoiding some of the more suggestive questions, you head back to your cave which was once your childhood bedroom, and begin applying for jobs again. You think that the world has shattered around you as the parties surrounding you before have become ragers with the stuffed animals in your closet.
3 Months Later
About 3 months have passed, and you have heard back from a couple companies inquiring for further details on your resume. Nothing has really come through, which is ironic considering you were always told if you sold your soul and parents’ savings account to college, you would have jobs lined up out the door. You have committed yourself to some form of physical activity just to fill the time. The only time you change out of your sweatpants is to meet up with old friends from college who probably are doing about the same as you. While you complain about your life, previous relationships, lack of sex, minimal privacy, and a complete loss of purpose, your bestie isn’t even listening because they are scrolling through Instagram. It’s not entirely their fault; our world isn’t set up for face-to-face interactions.
The Desperation Phase
You have finally gotten desperate enough to apply for internships. At this point, many of them are paid, but you don’t really hear back from them. Your most used hashtag is #IHatePeople, and your life is slowly crumbling around you. When you finally hear back from an internship program, it is unpaid and requires the absolute most from you. What a great way to start your booming career. You drag yourself through this internship while others start to get their first job. Honestly, it’s really excellent adulting.
Hello, are you an Adult?
Finally, something comes through for you. This job is straight out of hell, and you knew better than to expect something that actually has a work/life balance. Honestly, at this point, you will take just about anything that comes your way. With little hope for the rest of your life, you participate in entry-level work filled with grunt work, meetings that could be emailed, team strategizing where your opinion is useless, and endless coffee runs. All of this is precisely what you were hoping for, especially when you realize your retail job paid more than your current 15$ an hour salary. You still feel the gaping hole of meaninglessness and often find yourself contemplating why you even chose the degree you did. Shouldn’t you have explored more options before surrendering close to 100k a year?
Things are looking up in your personal life. You are so busy with work you barely have time to breathe but you have some adult friends you don’t entirely want to kill. You meet someone and decide to try that whole relationship thing again, which provides ammunition for your mother to be all up in your business once again. Moreover, it is better than It was before, and you often reflect on your previous encounters with utter loss of purpose and wish you could go back in time and tell yourself it would all be ok. You still don’t see a real career in sight, but hey, at least you are getting laid.
As you navigate through the next few years of your life, you realize you are in a total transition phase. People have come and gone, and you have been split in many directions for work. You are learning how to swim quite well in your current role and sometimes even look forward to seeing your coworkers. You have collected enough money to finally move out, and you start to call your mom to hear how Pilates went while drinking your coffee at your kitchen table. As far as relationships go, you are in one that might actually last. This person isn’t just looking to hook up and leave by 2am. They sit and talk to you about what you want your future to look like. While you still haven’t decided what you want to do regarding children, you are pretty committed to a handful of plants gathered by your balcony window. You might even see how this whole parenting concept goes by getting a furry friend. Life after college has been a real rough go, and it probably won’t be the most effortless journey. Some of those old people definitely got it right when they said to enjoy it while you can, and you intend to do just that.