Postgrad life is an untouched region that everyone who owes $30,000 or more to that nagging Sallie Mae has to endure to make it to the full-time job with full health benefits and a salary that you can pay rent with. Don’t let the Graduation Party fool you though. Like a lot of people I know — real life starts the Monday after Graduation. You don’t have any time to gather your thoughts or sit out in the park and read a book on a Tuesday afternoon. It’s time to enter the workforce, and boy, does it hit you like a train.
You can love your job and the people you work with, but nothing prepares you for the Postgrad slump of not knowing how to identify yourself after spending the better part of 20 years identifying as a “student” or the fact that sitting behind your desk really messes with the fact that you’ve been hiking 2 miles a day across campus for the like few years, or seeing how much all your subscriptions actually cost when your not a student (I’m looking at you Spotify/ Hulu combo).
But in all seriousness… this is HARD and DRAINING. Anyone who tells you otherwise is living in a simulation. No one prepares you to drive the same route to work each day (sometimes twice a day when you forget your lunch) or tells you that you’re probably going to gain weight because you’ve suddenly become absolutely stationary for 8+ hours a day, or for the fact that all your friends are on different paths at different speeds. It really starts to mess with you after a while. For some people, their friends stay all summer long after graduation so it’s like nothing changed and there are no study sessions getting in the way of a Bike Bar on a Wednesday at 2p, and for those people, I’m so glad you got to make those memories before the real work set it. Truly. Those pictures and memories and laughs are going to be shared with your kids one day.
For the rest of us, real life started less than 48 hours after we walked across the stage, and we weren’t prepared. Hell, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that I’ve been waking up at 7:30a (or earlier some days) to be at work by 8:30a to then sit on my rear for 8 and a half hours, and leave at 5p. It blows my mind. I’m still struggling with the fact that I need to be IN BED (not asleep quite yet) by 10p to get a decent night’s sleep before I wake up and do it all over again. Which only leaves me 5 hours to go to the gym, hang out with my little sister, hang out with my friends, shop, and do normal human things. Some days it feels like I hit a wall, and I know I’m not the only one out there like this, but it’s a hard pill to swallow.
I feel that I needed to share this for anyone out there who thinks they’re alone in this. You’re not, and for each graduating class there will be more of us. I know you’ll find your path at the right speed and that’s what’s important. You WILL find your way.