Life after college is weird.
It’s been exactly 9 months, 21 days, 11 hours, 11 minutes and 57 seconds since I’ve graduated college, according to a website I’m convinced was created by a 4thgrader. In that time, I’ve had an unpaid internship, worked a part-time job that paid me to say hello, gained 10 pounds, lost 2 pounds, applied to 937 jobs, taken Cialis (just to say I’ve tried it), asked my mom for money approximately 37 times, found myself a sexy, bearded precious pearl honey suckle pumpkin seed (aka boyfriend), and landed myself a job that has nothing to do with my degree. It’s been a bitter, joyous, awkward, depressing, beautiful time – and it still is.
I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things since getting my diploma. Some of these things have been great, others have left we questioning WTF I am doing with my life. To prove how strange it’s been, here are all the wonderful and terrible things I’ve come to realize about life after college:
You realize your professors are actually cooler than you ever imagined and you want to be their BFF. OK, I will admit — When I was in college, I always thought of my professors as something similar to Greek goddesses. I assumed they lived in their offices, or at least had a secret bedroom in their office where they carved away their plans for my future on the walls. Professors were like these mythical warriors that carried red pens wherever they went, whose lives revolved around their students and their university. Since getting out of college, I’ve found that my favorite professors are actually much, much cooler than I ever imagined (and I thought they werevery cool). They have amazing lives and families and do things on the weekends! They go on dates and take pictures of their food like me and are beautiful, 3-dimensional beings! Since getting out of college, I’ve come to appreciate everything my professors did for me even more. Whether it was responding to my emails on weekends (Seriously, you don’t know how much you appreciate that until you have to do it), or being rock stars with killer humor, my love for professors has grown even more since graduating.
Everything you stressed about in college now seems trivial compared to the real world. OMG so you have two finals in one day? You can’t go out on the weekend because you have to write a term paper? You got a C in Linguistics?! These were all things that I worried about in college. In fact, they genuinely seemed like the biggest deal ever. However, looking back, I’ve found that these anxieties were miniscule compared to what life after college would be like. Now, you have to worry about things like money and rent and relationships and if you’ll have a job in three weeks because your bosses fired two people over the span of three days and you are left wondering if you will be next. It’s hard.
All of your friends are at different places in life – and that’s either wonderful or terrifying. This was perhaps the most difficult part about life after college for me. There were times where everyone around me seemed to be getting jobs. They were making bank while my bank account only had a mere 36 cents in it. I thought something was wrong with me. Was I not applying to the right positions? Was my resume too boring? Should I have called my grandmother more as a child? But over time, I came to realize there was no right way to living life. We were all at different places, taking different journeys, and there was no wrong or right way of doing it.
You realize dreams take time. Anyone who knows me knows I can be a bit, ahem, impulsive. I’m known to up and move to places on a whim, make (what appear to be) crazy decisions, and do what needs to be done in order to achieve my dreams. However, it’s different when you’re no longer in college. You find that you can no longer simply take out an extra 2k in financial aid so you can move to New York for three months. You don’t have the protection of professors, or the comfort of knowing you can skip class to do an interview. You find that you have to work for your dreams. You have to take a job you don’t entirely love. You have to email people and reach out to people multiple times. You have to save money. You have to wait and watch as others around you live the life you want. You realize you have to be OK with not being OK 900 percent of the time.
Everything is awkward and uncertain always. You take jobs that may not lead to anything better, you lose friends you thought would be there forever, people you never expected come into your life, and Taylor Swift comes out with an album that turns your world upside down.
Finally, you realize you are 100 percent responsible for your life. After college, you come to realize you are completely responsible for your own life. You are responsible for every bridge you burn, every opportunity you did or didn’t take, every job you quit, or every person you let down. You find you no longer have three more years of college to count on, or teachers who will give you five chances to get a better grade. People will support you, and encourage you, and give you advice, but at the end of the day, it’s all YOU. This realization is scary and wonderful and doesn’t make sense all the time, but I’ve found that the more responsibility you take in yourself, the better. And yet what is better for one may not be better for another. I will say though – life would be better for us all if we called our grandmother more.
JOSH GALASSI has a Bachelors degree in Journalism – Public Relations, which he still finds weird to say. He has written about several topics, including ex-gay therapy, young adults with cancer, and his favorite things about Los Angeles. He is a big fan of love, coffee, and incredibly well-defined jaw lines.