It's Not The End: 40 Reasons Your Life Only Begins After Graduation

by Gigi Engle

“Your college years are the best years of your life.” Ah, how often the Millennial hears this one. It's like a broken record, constantly on repeat, always reminding us that our lives peak in college.

After college, we’re just jumping on a toboggan to head downhill into middle-aged misery.

It’s true, to an extent; college is a very special time in a young person's life. It’s a time for growing up, learning about ourselves and taking our first adult steps into the real world.

College is, however, a romanticized ideal, full of amazing parties, hot chicks and low inhibitions. It’s supposed to be a time for us to let our collective hair down and let our freak flags fly.

But, this golden vision of college being the best time of our lives is far too shallow to be consequential in any way.

Frankly, it’s bullsh*t.

Really? These years we spend bathed in the florescent light of classrooms, pouring over textbooks and emptying our bank accounts in the process? These are really the best years of our lives? Isn’t it just too tragic to really believe that? Isn’t it too easy?

Sure, binge drinking, head banging and body paint are great fun, but it isn’t what we learn inside the sheltered university community that is really valuable to our young lives.

Not in the long run, at least. Who we are in college is vastly different from who we will be in years to come.

College graduation isn’t the end. Joy is not dead. Life is not over for us yet. In fact, it has barely even begun.

Post-grad life is far superior to college in that it directly affects our real lives. While college is but a fraction of our identities, an isolated group of years that contributed to our personhood, it’s what lies in wait that really matters.

These beautiful, complicated, terrifying years after college are where we have to prove ourselves. It's time to really chase our dreams, forage our careers and learn to accept many harsh realities that face us on the rocky road of adulthood.

We’re no longer children. We’re no longer dealing with catty sorority girls, pointless tests and difficult teachers. There is a new kind of freedom to be had and explored. It is sweet, it is exhilarating and it is new.

These years — the post-grad years — are the best years of our lives. Here's why:

1. We’re sitting through mid-year reviews rather than midterm exams.

2. We’re focusing on projects we care about rather than focusing on test anxiety from material we don't care about.

3. We’re taking in information we value rather than memorizing answers to forget.

4. We’re having cocktails in tall glasses rather than cheap beer from a keg.

5. We’re receiving real paychecks rather than pocket money.

6. We’re forming mature, well-balanced friendships rather than stocking up on forgotten phone numbers.

7. We’re taking the time to enjoy the weekend rather than rattling on Adderall.

8. We’re going to happy hours rather than suffering through hangovers.

9. We’re building a life rather than waiting for life to start.

10. We’re watching Netflix rather than dancing at the club.

11. We’re establishing careers rather than gathering the building blocks.

12. We’re getting raises because we earned them, rather than handouts because we begged our parents for them.

13. We’re grocery shopping rather than using meal points.

14. We’re solidifying strong relationships rather than wasting time on superficial acquaintances.

15. We're waking up with the sun rather than going to bed with it.

16. We’re opening the right doors rather than experimenting with chance.

17. We’re meeting grown-up men rather than hanging with frat boys.

18. We’re tied to our desks rather than constantly changing classrooms.

19. We’re holding on to something solid rather than sifting through textbooks.

20. We’re a part of the team rather than stuck in a group.

21. We're eating quinoa rather than ramen.

22. We’re earning Benjamins rather than letter grades.

23. We're dating associates rather than athletes.

24. We’re guzzling down coffee rather than throwing back vodka.

25. We’re making our lunches rather than eating in lunchrooms.

26. We’re picking our partners rather than our sexual orientation.

27. We’re decorating our first apartments rather than sleeping in dorm rooms.

28. We're sticking to routines rather than pulling all-nighters.

29. We’re making our own rules rather than following the crowd.

30. We’re starting new beginnings rather than waiting for the end.

31. We're making the effort with the people who matter, rather than wasting time with circumstance.

32. We're drinking rosé rather than Natty light.

33. We're at Sunday brunch rather than Sunday football games.

34. We’re spending spring break in Napa rather than spring break in Cabo.

35. We’re living with roommates we choose rather than roommates we’re assigned to have.

36. We're using the stove rather than the microwave.

37. We're running at the gym rather than avoiding jail time.

38. We're having dinner parties rather than attending house parties.

39. We're interested in politics rather than pizza.

40. We’re living the sitcom rather than watching it.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It