It’s been a long two months of summer heat, vague unemployment, scripted “congratulations” and staring up at the ceiling in existential dread. I’d say the start of my post-grad life so far has been a mix of reluctant self-discovery and necessary grounding of myself. I’ve gone on good job interviews and bad job interviews; I’ve felt inexplicably lonely and deeply alive. In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve figured out, and perhaps it can be of some use to any of you in the same (very lost) boat:
- You probably aren’t going to get a job right away. So get used to that. Keep yourself busy applying to as many positions as you can, but also give yourself a break once in a while and focus on doing things you like. Read that book, paint that picture, visit that city. You’ve got the time right now–use it.
- You are going to be lonely. Friends you used to see across the hall every single day aren’t going to remember you–not because they don’t like you, but because it’s inconvenient for them to do so. Distance is hard. Maybe you’re the kind of person who will think of them everyday. Maybe you’ll tell them so via text or voicemail. And maybe they won’t text back for days or weeks, if at all. You’ll be lonely in this limbo between having someone always there to rub your back when you cried, and finding someone new to take on that role. But it’s okay. Cherish the people who do send those messages asking how you are. Cherish the family that keeps you company.
- People in the real world don’t actually drink alcohol everyday, at least not in unhealthy amounts. That’s called “binge drinking,” and yeah, it’s a real thing they all warned you about at those assemblies in the high school auditorium. Maybe you don’t even like alcohol that much. Maybe remembering the taste of vodka is enough to make you sick these days. Nobody’s pressuring you anymore. Just be yourself.
- Just be yourself. Maybe the person you were when you were with friends, isn’t the person you are. Work on finding who that person is. If those friends come back around and accept that new person, then they’re worth keeping.
- Things will never be the same again. This is not a bad thing. Four years in the same place with the same folks can be nice and comfortable and wonderful–it can be home. But homes change and people change. Step up. Step out. Start over.