How I Came To Revel In The Uncertainty Of My Post-Grad Life
“Quick to grow up” loosely sums up my attitude toward many ventures in my life.
At every chapter, I am constantly looking toward the next one, ready to tackle something new.
All of middle school, I dreamed of starting high school.
All four years of high school, I imagined how great the day I graduated would be.
Halfway through college, I came to the conclusion I was over it and wanted to be in the real world.
Now, fast forward to the last semester of my senior year of college: extreme panic.
The concept of the real world had crept up on me, and I suddenly grasped the depth of what that meant.
Even though I find emotional situations awkward and expressing feelings on the top of the list of things I hate doing, I began dripping in sentimentalism.
“This is the last Thursday of January that we will ever be able to go out!” I proclaimed to my friends.
I found any and every excuse to bask in the careless joys only college can bring you.
I had become so accustomed to my college bubble, when I started to see the traces of my bubble popping, I realized just how much reality was going to hurt.
I was mad at the part of myself that always looked to begin something new, rather than appreciate the moment.
I truly did enjoy college, and I took advantage of it to the fullest.
However, far too often, I found myself daydreaming of the real world and a life without homework, classes, “Thirsty Thursdays," cliques, my sorority and the unpleasant yet inevitable drama every college student experiences.
My indifference to many of these elements was quite strong in the first semester of my senior year of college.
In my defense, I was coming off the heels of an ugly and petty breakup with someone who made me curse the day I welcomed that person into my life, and I was desperate to escape the drama that ensued.
In layman’s terms, I was simply “over it.”
Back to my severe case of sentimentalism in my final semester:
I soaked up every moment: the good and the bad.
My roommate and soulmate-of-a-best-friend embarked on my mission to utilize the greatest parts of college.
Our final semester of college was filled with enough stories and memories for a novel.
When graduation rolled around, I was heartbroken to say goodbye to my beloved college town and the friends and people I had encountered.
As a Type A control freak, I had set a plan for what I'd do immediately after graduating.
I would spend one month lounging in my self-pity of the glory days. This would be followed by a three-month internship to make money before I moved away to start my career in public relations.
After two weeks of reacquainting with my old friend, Netflix, I had binge-watched enough "Grey’s Anatomy" episodes to send myself into a post-grad crisis.
My journalism degree all of a sudden seemed like a horrible mistake, and I spiraled into a panic that led me to begin researching nursing schools.
As I'm a germaphobe who protests the use of public bathrooms, my newfound nursing dream was laughable to my family and friends.
I found reasons to dress up sweatpants. Yet, I wanted a career where I wore scrubs every day.
Who was I kidding?
I longed for the controlled environment where you are never unsure of your purpose: go to class, study hard, achieve good grades, rinse, repeat.
Now, all of a sudden, every decision was based solely on my ability to execute it successfully.
As much as graduating from college was an accomplishment and something to be proud of, it was also a leap into harsh reality.
The social setting of college had also made me hypersensitive to being alone and doing things without my constant group of friends by my side.
I was rapidly going from someone who constantly made moves in college with internship opportunities and leadership positions to someone who questioned her every decision and purpose.
I felt lost without the structure of school, and I found myself turning to anything to give me a sign of what I was supposed to do.
An odd but defining moment came to me while I was eating Chinese take-out one night.
I never eat or open fortune cookies for two reasons: I don’t like the taste and I know my fate isn’t in the folds of a cookie.
I gingerly picked up the plastic-wrapped treat and raised my eyebrows at it as if it was challenging me.
Confused, lost and desperate for some kind of direction in my life, I decided this cookie could very well give me a sign (don’t judge, I was feeling Meredith Grey-esque).
I ripped open the wrapping, broke the cookie in half and unfolded the little piece of paper.
“You love Chinese food,” it read.
What kind of sh*t was this?
I didn’t know if I was more annoyed with the fact that out of all the fortunes I could have received, this was mine or the fact that I had actually turned to a fortune cookie to tell me what to do with my life.
Either way, all of it was depressing enough to kick my butt into gear.
I decided I hadn’t peaked. What I was experiencing was simply the fear of post-grad transition.
I stopped watching "Grey’s Anatomy," concluding McDreamy had tricked me into thinking I wanted to be a nurse.
I dove headfirst into my internship, and soon found myself enthralled by the limitless possibilities ahead of me.
No one can prepare you for the awkward and uncomfortable post-grad transition.
For the many of us who don’t have a job waiting for us straight out of school, we immediately feel the pressure of our lives.
Despite everything I had accomplished in college, a job wasn’t going to fall into my lap.
There are plenty of people with numerous internships and good grades who are also on the hunt for a job.
I realized I needed to stop relying on the fact that I had worked really hard in college.
College was over, and I needed to work really hard now if I wanted to achieve some kind of success.
Accepting the triumphs of college are over is no easy feat. But once you do, it brings a wave of relief.
I have begun to experience and enjoy a new normal.
I’m appreciating a time in my life where I feel young and old at the same time.
I am awkwardly living in the twilight zone of my high school bedroom, and have come to terms with the fact that it is okay to be panicked by the idea.
There is immense pressure in getting our lives started post-grad.
But my decision-making has me more keen than ever to prevent myself from landing in a financial hole or falling flat on my face in a job.
The end goal is clear to me.
Sometimes, slow and steady is the best way to accomplish something.