The Truth About Life After Graduation

Good morning zany ppl!! I’m writing to you from my desk at work in mid-town Manhattan (waiting for my boss to hand out this week’s assignments). My apologies for taking such a long silence from ZL. HOW THE HELL ARE YOU?!

My NYC life has been pretty great. I’m finally settling into my routine – my job, my apartment, my commute – as in I’m 90% finished decorating my room, I have a full work load of writing assignments (finally) and I can confidently take a 20-minute nap on the subway and not miss my stop.

The other night, my roommate/bff/soulmate (Chloe – you’ve probably heard of her by now) and I checked out a new restaurant that opened on our street. When we stepped up and pulled open the large, glass door, we were hit with buzzing chatter, and warmth from the candle flames & kitchen, every table filled with groups of Saturday night humans, each one different from the next.

We were greeted by a friendly French hostess. We told her we just wanted to grab a drink, and since the bar was completely full, she let us sit at our own high table-top, complete with the wicking candles I just spoke of.

As the night continued, I sipped on a dirty martini, and Chloe began talking about post-grad life, and how no one really prepared her for what was to come. People rarely speak truth about their post-grad life– the transition, the awkwardness, the anxiety—all we see on social media are the success stories. We hear about the people who get a job offer a week after graduation. We hear about people who are living in an exciting city doing fun things, right after graduation. No one goes on social media and says, “hey, I’m still unemployed, I’m living with my parents, and I have constant anxiety about my life! #blessed”.

This conversation got me thinking, and I have a decent amount of recent or soon-to-be college grads who actively read my blog—why not write about my true, honest experience about post-grad life? Of course everyone is different, and my story doesn’t define every post-grad out there, but I think a lot of the feelings I felt during the 3 months after graduation are pertinent to the situation at hand.

And I can also say, having found a great job and now living in an exciting city, that I have some wisdom for those who are still in the job-hunting trenches.

Let’s take it all the way back to the day of college graduation. After months of applying and interviewing for jobs, I found myself empty-handed, unemployed, and completely stressed out. I should have been nothing but celebratory that humid late May morning—I had worked my butt off for 4 years, I was graduating with honors in my desired field, my whole family was in town to support & cheer me on, and I had my two best friends by my side.

But what was I doing?

Throwing up and crying. Not because I was sick, or because I had bad food the night before—because my body literally couldn’t handle the pressure and stress I was putting on myself. I was all dressed up, hair and makeup done, and instead of taking cute photos with my family, I was on my knees hunched over the toilet. That’s how anxious I was about my future.

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?

Graduation morning certainly wasn’t the first time I stress-puked. It had been continuous throughout my last semester of school. The thought of not having something lined up after graduation was my worst fear. My fear wasn’t even about just not having a job lined up, but the possibility that I would be seen as a failure.

It wrecked me. It robbed me of a lot of joy I could have been experiencing.

Luckily, I had (and still have) the best family and friends, who, regardless of my anxiety and stress and constant moodiness, stuck by me, supported me, and reminded me that I was not a failure. I can’t tell you how many times I would call my best friend Sarah crying, stressing out about my future, and she would give me so much encouragement and positive energy. Sometimes she’d even cook me homemade Chick-fil-A (a true gem of a woman).

ANYWAY, as you can tell, I was definitely not calm, cool or collected during graduation season.

The summer approached, and since I didn’t have a job lined up, I moved back in with my parents in Maryland. No offense to my parents, but this was certainly the last thing I wanted to do after graduation. Moving back in with Mom & Dad felt like taking steps backward from my independence.

I spent my summer in a suburban neighborhood, sitting in my childhood bed, desperately applying for jobs. I would apply for a job, get my hopes up, and then feel crushed when I received a rejection email. The process was draining.

I felt stuck. I knew I wanted to move to a big city and start my writing career, but I just couldn’t get any call-backs. I was bitter toward my rejections, and anxious about whether I would ever get to begin my career.

After a summer of applying and getting absolutely nowhere, I decided to take a week off from applying, due to my wisdom teeth removal. I looked forward to a week of laying on the couch, watching movies, eating ice cream, and all-together ignoring the looming unknown future. The day after my surgery, face swollen, still loopy on pain-meds, I got a call from a recruiter. A week later I got a job offer, and the week after that, I moved to NYC and started my writing career.

The thing about living in the world of post-college job applying is that, it goes so so slow, until it doesn’t anymore. I spent my summer waiting around, and it seemed like a lifetime. I felt like I would never get a job, never start my career, never move to a big city. But once I started that conversation with the recruiter, I was in Manhattan starting my job within 2 weeks.

Post-grad life can feel like an eternity of waiting and anxiety, but I promise you, it will pass. I have two very positive best friends in my life, and they always told me it would work out, and I always rolled my eyes in unbelief at them. Turns out, they were right. (As they are about most things.)

My advice for any post-grads in the thick of job-hunting, or the soon-to-be college graduates: enjoy the ride. You’ll never be in this phase of life again, and where it might seem terrible at the moment, it’s a part of your journey you can never get back. Before you know it you’ll be working 9-5 every day, and missing the time you lived with your parents and didn’t have to worry about anything but finding a job (and didn’t have to pay rent).

Well there you have it, my personal post-grad experience, and my wisdom as a girl who has been through it all. Post-grad life doesn’t look the same for everyone, and that’s okay. You might get a job right after college, or you might get a job 9 months after graduation. It is all a part of the process. Don’t compromise your dreams or think any less of yourself. YOU GOT THIS!

Zany Lady is here cheering you on.


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