Because contrary to popular belief, not all millennials living in their parent’s basements are content to be there forever.
1. Transitioning from Collegiate Life to Real Life Can Be Hard
Two of my favorite things about college were having a consistent schedule and living with and near all of my friends. Sure, some semesters that schedule started at 8 a.m. and ended somewhere around 1 a.m. the next morning, but it was consistent. This sometimes wild form of consistency was made easier by the fact that I lived with 3 of my best friends. The beautiful thing about college is that it gives you some real adult life experience, while still allowing you to stay up late eating pizza and drinking cheap wine.
Then you graduate, and you move to different places. The consistency you once had is replaced with endless daily quasi-chaos. You spend your days applying for jobs, starting a new job, or finding different ways to fill the time in your day not committed to filling out job applications. No matter which direction your life goes, you don’t experience the same kind of consistency you did in college, and that can be hard to get used to.
Beyond that, many times your friends end up in different places. All of my roommates live in different states than I do now. I moved back to my parents’ house, back to my bedroom, which just so happens to be in the basement. Hence, I began my life as a proud college graduate in my parents’ basement in my small hometown in Wisconsin. Population: 2,856, median age: 52.7, closest movie theater: roughly 30 minutes. If you need to buy clothes, you drive a good hour; unless you want to get them at Wal-Mart, which is only a half an hour. It’s safe to say this was a change of pace for me. After four years immersed in a culture of people in my age group, I moved to a place where the only ones in my age group are a few people I went to high school with who never left. It can be hard to be so isolated, especially in a time of change.
But just because change is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad. You just need to find ways or reasons to love the situation you’re in. I love my life now because my 16 year-old brother is there. He plays 3 varsity sports at our high school, and I get to watch every game. More than that, after being gone for four years of college, I missed a lot of his life and he’s turned into a pretty cool kid. Sure, I still miss having a consistent life, and I definitely miss having my friends around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the best in the changes life throws your way.
2. Finding a “Big Girl Job” Can Be Hard, Too
Job hunting (for a lot of people) is hard. In my experience it’s been made more difficult by the fact that I’m looking for a teaching job. Some jobs you can find year round, teaching jobs are really only open from about April to August. If you don’t get one then, you’ll more than likely have to wait until the next year to look for a full time job. Even if you aren’t a teacher, however, it can take a while to find somewhere to work. Filling out an application is hard, and interviewing can be harder. After submitting multiple applications without getting an interview, it can feel like you’ll never be good enough or that there’s something magically wrong with you that makes no one want to hire you. But eventually, your curse will break. And some employer, somewhere will call you for an interview. Here’s your shot.
I’ve decided there are very few things in the world as weird as the minutes right after an interview. You put yourself on the line trying to get a group of strangers to like you and then you leave knowing that the group of strangers is talking about whether or not they like you. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t; but you can’t take it personally. Employers are looking for more than just your qualification. Sometimes they look for experience, and sometimes they’re just waiting to find someone with that je ne sais quoi. When the right job comes along, you’ll get it. I’ve never experienced such a test, and growth, in patience as I have experienced job hunting.
3. You Won’t Have it All Together, and that’s O.K.
My life is nowhere close to “together.” Sometimes that really stresses me out, but I’m learning to accept it. Transitioning from college to real life collides with job hunting and the result is this mass anarchical chaos that feels a little smothering sometimes. Especially when I look at some of my friends who are married and have kids and steady jobs and their own places to live. But they don’t have it all together either. I’m firmly convinced that you can never truly get it all together, you just work hard to get as much as you can in place and minimize the mess with the rest.
That’s not to say the chaos is always smothering, or that at times you won’t be perfectly happy with the ratio of chaos to calm in your life. As much as I believe no one really gets it all together, I believe even more in loving the life you have and finding the best in it. There are some things in life you just can’t control. Your attitude and effort are always within your power to change. If you want to, you will always be able to find something wrong or something to complain about. But you’ll also always be able to find something right or something to enjoy. The choice is yours. You may not have everything together right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to love it.
What are some things you have learned in post-grad life? Share in the comments below!