Post-Grad Blues

Well, now what?

Many of us go to college and have the best four years of our lives, but then what?  Back when our mothers were our age, the next step was typically finding a husband and raising a family. This does not mean that there were not women more focused on their careers, but the majority had a very clear path designed for them.

While some chose to take this path, and some did not, this option was definitely more prevalent than it is now. And let me just say, thank God for that. I am so grateful that we do not have as much pressure to settle down, and are encouraged to be whoever we want to be.

The world is our oyster… but no really, it is. Yes, women still have some barriers to break through but we have come a long way. You go to college, graduate, and then pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. But what happens when you are a college grad, and you don’t know where to go from there? We go to pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, then to high school and finally to college. But then what?

When we were younger, people always told us, “You can be whatever you want to be.”  We were told to dream big, and that we could accomplish anything if we set our minds to it.  But now, the time has come where our dreams are a little too close for comfort.  It’s easy to say that you are going to be a famous actress, an award winning writer, an on camera anchor, a lawyer, etc.  But when that time comes when you are supposed to make that dream into a reality, it’s not that easy.  Scary is what it is, and for many it’s absolutely terrifying.

You might change your mind, about a billion times. That is at least what I seem to be going through right now. I feel like my mind is having some kind of personality disorder, and doesn’t know what it wants to be. But then you might come back to your original dream of dreams and ask yourself if you gave it up because of a change of heart, or fear of failure.

Putting career choices aside, there is a whole other layer to the post-grad blues. I cannot speak for all 23 year-olds, but I am so far from having a desire to get married or have children. Sure one day I look forward to being married and starting a family, but the thought that I should be ready to embark on that adventure any day now not only terrifies me but makes me sick. When I hear that a friend of mine from high school, or God forbid, an ex-boyfriend is tying the knot, I feel like there is something wrong with me because I feel so far from that point in my life. I still feel like a kid, I am in no position to become a real adult right now.

I have always been very career-oriented. In the past I knew that if my boyfriend broke up with me or I liked a guy that didn’t like me back, I would always have a great career ahead of me to look forward to. However, now that I am done with college, and have bounced around the work world, I feel as though I don’t even have a career to fall back on. I don’t have a boyfriend, I don’t have a job (at the moment) and I am living 3000 miles away from my hometown. The world is a very scary place right now.

While this can be a pretty frightening time in a twenty-something girl’s life, it is actually very normal.  I really need to practice what I preach, but it’s true. We should be taking advantage of this time in our lives.  It is okay to try new things, and take a detour from our five-year plans. The last thing anyone wants is regret. I don’t want to look back twenty years from now and wish that I had done something different.

For those of you still in college or about to graduate- savor every second of it.  I wish someone would have informed me what a slap in the face it was to go from college to the real world… but consider yourself warned, it’s not fun. I in no way want to scare any of you, but prepare yourselves and maybe the transition won’t feel as much like a punch to the gut and more like a little slap on the wrist.

And those of you that are in my shoes–let’s try not to be so hard on ourselves, shall we?  Not only is this transition a hard one, but as we all know the job market sucks right now.  Don’t give up, be persistent, and try new things.  Start reading a book series, take up a new hobby, or enroll in a class.  Suggestions: volunteering at an animal shelter, take an improv class, take a cooking class, or even….join a dating website. Alright, online dating is even hard for me to swallow.  But let’s be real, a lot more people meet on these things than you think, so don’t knock it till you try it.

Sometimes, it might seem like nothing is going right or you feel like you have no direction. Everyone feels like this from time to time, some more than others.  Don’t forget to remember how awesome you are. Seriously. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much you have going for you because you get so lost in your frustration and confusion with post grad life. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. We are lucky to live in a world where, no matter how corny it sounds, we really can (at least attempt) to be whatever we want to be. So let’s make a few mistakes, fall on our faces, then get back up, laugh it off, and live the lives that we deserve.


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4 Responses to Post-Grad Blues

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this article! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world going, “Wait? I'm not in college? Real world? What do I do now?” But this made me feel so much better! Being a “real person” definitely takes some getting used to, and we need to be patient with ourselves. This article was so helpful and well-written.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A bunch of my friends (myself included) are definitely going through this right now. I always wanted a big career but now that I'm out of college…I'm like wait, I actually have to make a decision about what this “big career” is going to be? It's really scary. I miss college…I always wonder why nobody told me to stay an extra semester or year! The transition into the 40 hr work week has been really hard for me but at least I'm getting work experience to at least try something out! If I don't like it, I'm still young and there's so many other fields out there. I hope you find a job soon, Sam! This is my favorite article from you 🙂


  3. Lauren says:

    Great post. Being the first of my friends to graduate college, I still feel like I'm in college. It is just a strange feeling at times. Thanks for this.


  4. Anonymous says:

    love this article, Sam. Nan

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