Graduation is the moment that every college kid works for, but life as a college graduate isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. We told ourselves that the stress we went through during our finals was worth it. We said that not getting enough sleep to finish important projects was just another stepping stone. Whether you attend the ceremony or not, there are moments that make it real. For example, receiving your diploma or not returning to classes. For me, wearing my cap and gown and walking across the stage represented a small sense of closure for me. Life after the ceremony hasn’t at all been what I anticipated. However, even though life as a college graduate hasn’t been ideal, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I’ve known what I’ve wanted to be for years – an editor and an author. Unfortunately, to find a company where I qualify to be an editor is easier said than done. A college degree isn’t always enough to get an entry-level position but I never thought I would run into that problem. I started applying to jobs months before graduation but many of the positions that made me perk up wanted at least 3-5 years of experience. So even though I’ve always thought I would have a job lined up after I completed college, I’m still searching. It really comes down to remembering that the “perfect” starter job is out there. I’ve just got to keep searching for it. One of the important tasks for me is to build my network and learn how to market the skills I’ve gained from an English degree.
Feeling Like I’m Done
Throughout my last semester, I would constantly remind myself that I was almost done. That was part of my motivation. The fact that I was graduating never felt real though. There were moments when it would feel real. For example, when I bought my cap and gown, taking senior pictures, or performing my last halftime show. The big wake up call was when I woke up the morning of graduation. Going through the ceremony, getting my diploma, having lunch with my friends and family afterwards – all made it feel real.
Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last. In the month that I’ve experienced life as a college graduate, it’s easy to forget that I’m actually done. There’s still that voice in the back of my head telling me that I need to buy textbooks, figure out where my classes are, and plan a schedule. It’s really strange to know that my friends have started their Spring semester while I continue to apply for new jobs. I thought that it would feel real when I didn’t go back to campus and it definitely does. Although, I think that the big hitter will be when I accept a job offer. Right now, I’m stuck in a strange limbo.
My Stress Level
I like to stay busy. When I don’t have enough projects to keep me busy, then I get bored. When I neared the end of my college career, I realized that I was over being constantly stressed. Knowing my habits, I figured I’d find new ways to overwork myself. That hasn’t been the case so far though. Not to say I haven’t been busy. I apply to jobs like crazy and continue to work at McDonald’s. Yet, I’m not use to this light of a schedule. Although it means I can get more sleep, it also means that I have more time to write and edit which is a huge plus. It also means that I have time to look into new hobbies. I’ve realized just how many cool things there are to do with a life as a college graduate, like crocheting animals or photography.
My Sleep Schedule
My sleep schedule during college was always a little strange. There would be days when I was in bed by 11 p.m. and up at 10 a.m. and then there were days when I wouldn’t crawl into bed until 3 a.m. and had to be up by 8 a.m. Those days were brutal, but now I have no reason to have such a crazy sleep schedule.
The truth is that old habits die hard. I typically get home from work around 11:15 p.m. on good days and I have to wind down before going to bed. This typically means watching Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix is a black hole that I fall down and there are nights where I find myself staying up until 1 a.m. to “start” the next episode. This means sleeping in later, which leaves me less time to follow my project schedule before I have to go to work. Chances are when I get a new job I’ll have to get up early in the mornings, therefore I continue to remind myself that I have to get into a somewhat normal sleep schedule!
So my original plan didn’t come to fruition and I don’t feel 100% graduated yet. I’ve realized that it’s okay for plans to change. I also know that it’s normal to feel weird about graduating since co-workers and friends have felt the same way. It doesn’t mean I’m not excited, it just means that I’m adjusting to a new phase in my life as a college graduate. The plan for now is to keep moving forward while I continue working, applying to jobs, and developing a network. I’ll create a schedule for working on my writing projects and editing and follow it so that I’m less likely to procrastinate. I’m excited to see where I end up in the coming years!
Experiencing post grad depression as well? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Bachelors degree obtained from Ball State University. Majored in Creative Writing and minored in Professional Writing/Emerging Media.