Confessions of a 2020 College Graduate… Now What?!
You did it! College diploma in one hand, tossing your graduation cap in the other. The world is your oyster, my friend. You are so excited to get out there and make BIG things happen.
Aaaand then your sixth week of unemployment rolls around and you’ve color-coordinated your closet twice... Or just slept … like a lot. You feel like your life has no meaning and you realize you have no idea what you should be working towards (other than employment which seems like a stretch because of widespread hiring freezes).
Post-grad life is not all rainbows and butterflies and it’s easy to start thinking that the “real world” isn’t all it's cracked up to be.
When I started college in 2016, I thought my life would look a lot different than it does right now. If COVID-19 came and rained on your graduation parade, odds are your life looks a lot different after graduation than you thought it would too. Even without a worldwide pandemic, post-grad living is a tough adjustment. But hey guess what? That’s life! This is the real world, and boy are we living in it.
As a certified 2020 college graduate, I thought I would share some confessions with you that are hopefully relatable and would likely make my 2016 self cringe…
#1. I don’t have a neat and tidy 5-year plan
Shocking that at the age of 22, I don’t have my entire future career path mapped out.
I think the most confusing part of this for my 2016 self to understand would be the fact that I graduated with the necessary pre-med requirements, took the MCAT, and centered all of my extracurricular activities around health and medicine. Yet when it came time to apply to medical school, I realized I didn’t even want it anymore! (this is a story for another time, I promise).
I hit a big fat reset button going into my senior year and as a result, graduated without much of a plan for my future career. I am still figuring it out. If you are too, I think that is A-O-Kay.
#2. I didn’t graduate with a job
Blame it on COVID. Blame it on me not knowing what I want to do with my life. The reason doesn’t really matter, the point is I didn’t leave senior year with a guaranteed income. The expectation to graduate with a job often weighs heavily on college seniors. These things take time! Especially in today’s job market.
Everything is going to work out exactly how it should be if you keep putting yourself out there. I eventually accepted a full-time position in August, but there were plenty of nights before that I was convinced I would be #funemployed forever.
#3. I miss college courses
I’ll say it loud and I’ll say it proud. I miss school. I miss the validation of grades, I miss the routine of attending class, I miss having the autonomy to schedule out my day. Things look different when you’re working 9-5 and people sure don’t pat you on the back as much as they did in an educational environment.
I guess it’s time to take this matter into my own hands and congratulate myself when I work hard and do well.
#4. I hang out with my parents .. sort of a lot
There is something about a home-cooked meal and family time that really hits different once you are working full time and trying to make it on your own.
I’m sure my pre-college self thought that post-grad meant bar hopping in the cities with my friends. But actually, it has looked a lot more like dinner at my parents’ house followed by being in bed at 10 pm.
I might have found this embarrassing four years ago. Truthfully, now I am just grateful to live close enough to my family to prioritize quality time with them!
#5. I don’t understand insurance, taxes, credit, or really anything in the financial industry
Were they planning on teaching us this stuff at some point?
I am moving into my first apartment on September 1st and have been digging deep into the youtube financial world to try to get tips for budgeting, establishing good credit, and all of the other things that somehow didn’t seem too important during college.
I’ll link some videos I have found helpful. I would love it if you would comment below with any other resources you have found!
#6. Some days feel truthfully hopeless post-grad
Leaving for work by 7:30, coming home and dragging myself to the gym, making dinner, packing a lunch for the next day, and going to bed just to do it all over again? This is my life now?
Each day felt a lot more spontaneous when you were living with your college best friends. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the days of far less rigidity.
I am still getting into the swing of working full time and am looking forward to finding new ways to enjoy my evenings and weekdays. I’ve never been one to live for the weekend and I don’t want to start now.
All of this can seem a little funny and pretty bleak, so I think it’s important to acknowledge that things will get better.
Aside from the missteps and adjustments, I am excited! People keep telling me that life only gets more fun as the years pass by. There is so much more to life than college! We are all just experiencing the learning curve of this postgraduate thing.
To all of my 2020 graduates, we haven’t been doing this for very long. It’s more than likely that you’re not currently working at your dream job or that you're not even employed at all. The good news is, that’s okay! We all have to start somewhere and give ourselves some grace during the in-betweens.
You are not alone in this journey. More post-grad content is coming soon, so don't forget to subscribe down below to get notified about future posts!