Four years passed in the blink of an eye and you wouldn’t believe it, but class of 2021 we made it! Although it may feel surreal, here are some signs that you really are a college graduate.
You get the “so what’s next?” question.
You’ve just made it through your hellish graduation ceremony that you were probably praying the whole time would end so you can go back to sleep and cure your hangover. I get it, I did the same exact thing. But your extended family is here and you’re forced to go through the polite conversation that every graduate goes through. Obviously, you weren’t job hunting like crazy during your last few weeks at college, and it’s impossible to get hired during a global pandemic. But still, you get the question that makes your smile waver a bit and you have to suppress a scream. That question? “So, what are your plans after college?” If I knew that answer, wouldn’t you think I’d be broadcasting it to the entire university? Apparently not because every single graduate gets the question without fail every year.
You spent all of April and May crying.
Whether you liked it or not, the looming countdown of your final days in college caught up with you. One morning you woke up and realized you really had a month left of college forever and then you were out on your own. Being a college graduate leaves you with a ton of questions and you realized that you really aren’t ready to leave the parties and figure out how to file your own taxes. So you cry. Daily. For my roommates, every time we went out there would be tears. You don’t want to leave your people, you don’t want to leave the insane atmosphere that is college. You start bargaining with the sky, promising that if you wake up a sophomore you’ll go to all of your classes just for a chance to stay.
You’ve had about ten existential crises.
All of those people assuming since you’re officially a college graduate, then you should have the rest of your life figured out have finally gotten under your skin. It forces you to actually think: now what? Or, better yet, how? How am I going to go back to fully living with my parents who won’t leave me alone? How am I going to live without my roommates? How am I even a graduate? It all seems too surreal to accept because last time you checked you were a freshman trying to figure out how to do your laundry and now you’re expected to just leave.
You joked about a fifth year.
Especially after this pandemic, we lost a year and a half of actual college life. I certainly am not done at this university, because I had half of my college career ripped away from me! So you begin scrambling for ideas as to how you can keep the magic of college going. Even though you’ve completed your degree and are an official graduate/alumnus, don’t tell me you didn’t consider adding a minor just for one more year of bliss and irresponsibility.
You developed immense separation anxiety.
Fine, you moved out of your house at college after much kicking and screaming. You’re not happy about it, especially since you spent your final months attached at the hip of your group. Going from seeing each other every day to maybe once a week is simply not enough. You begin texting your friends at all hours, calling even the ones you weren’t that close with just to feel like you’re not an official graduate. Since you can’t spend too much time apart, you schedule a trip to see them about two days after being separated.
You spend hours looking at old photos.
Aww, remember when? Slideshows are made, embarrassing photos from nights you barely remember are pulled up, you’re feeling nostalgic. Let’s relive the glory days while we are still together. Being a graduate doesn’t mean you have to forget all about that time you were hungover in the back of the lecture hall fighting nausea while learning. You compile all of your favorite pictures to remember all of the insane times you had at school, even the ones you would rather not remember.
You hit every spot on campus you love.
So you’re leaving campus soon, but you don’t want to go without stopping at your fave restaurants and places around campus. You make your own tour to visit buildings you grew attached to, restaurants you won’t be able to reach when you get home, and places you’ve been dying to go to but still haven’t gotten the chance to. You don’t know the next time you’ll be back, so you jam-pack your week with an itinerary even you know is ambitious. Lunch on the green out front of your old English building and then immediately head to the bar that you attended every Thursday night for a dose of nostalgia.
You’re already planning your trip back.
Being a graduate does not mean you need to stay away forever. Maybe you have younger friends at college that still are living your dream, or maybe there’s a beach nearby where the college students frequent in the hotter months. Either way, you’re not ready to say goodbye yet and that’s perfectly okay. You’re not ready to walk away from this amazing college life you know and love so you find excuses to keep returning. We all do it, so let’s just keep being washed-up graduates forever.
You avoid Linkedin and Facebook.
Everyone seems to be getting their lives in order, ready to start their next chapter. However, you are not on the same wavelength as them. Jobs are hard to find, money is tight, and you really don’t want to see how everyone is seemingly getting their lives together. Not you though, you just want to have one last summer before it gets real. So you avoid social media platforms that people post their new endeavors on and use your blissful ignorance to your advantage.