13-17yrs, 18 & over, civic duty, commentary

College Experience and Life After College (Stage 0)

Sometimes I miss my college experience. I graduated from college a year and a half ago and have been living on my own since. In  a year, so much has changed for me, but it feels like life has slowed down. The real world is very different from the academic world I inhabited for four years. When I was in college I had to deal with constant class changes, homework, and part-time jobs.

Now I am trying to socialize in a world  where I have to work at least eight hours a day. Going through the same routine each week has been a hard adjustment for me. I am part of the group of people who, upon graduating high school,decided to go directly to college.

College Experience

My college experience was a very important one for me personally. I was homeschooled until high school and never had the chance to socialize and work in  public school classrooms. That made college  a very positive and sometimes overwhelming experience for me. At the time, I felt like I was learning so much about the world and how it works. I learned that, although college does teach young adults how to survive on their own, you are still sheltered.  Your day to day life still revolves around school and making sure you can meet homework and project deadlines. However,there is still some time to go off and have fun in your spare time. On top of this, you still feel like you are progressing toward the inevitable end goal of a degree.

Fast forward to after graduation

I have learned it is very easy to become stuck in a daily rut. After college, I decided to stay  in the town where I went to school because I did not want to go back to my  small hometown. I got a full-time job that had nothing to do with my degree or career goal. Financial independence has always been important to me, which is why I took whatever job I could find. But after a few months of working as a cashier, I noticed how easily I had sunken into my day to day life.

The job market where I live is very limited due to the small size of the area. Nothing was changing or progressing. I had  goals and ambitions, but had no real plan or means to act them out.At the time, I was living paycheck to paycheck hoping that something magical would happen. I thought my life would radically and suddenly change for the better.
That magical something never really happened.

Looking Back

college experience

I looked back at my college experience with rose colored glasses: there was always something new to learn, new people to meet, and new experiences to be had. There were new classes and opportunities every semester.  Now I had to worry about having a credit line, paying bills, and deciding what I should have for lunch the next day. Though I had paid my rent and bills and worked in college, I was unprepared for how different the adult working world was. I wanted to go back to being a quasi-kid again. I could do what I wanted in a safe space with the added benefit of absent parental supervision and being responsible for myself.

What I Forgot

I forget how much I wanted to graduate by the time senior year came around. It was time to see more of the world. I was ready to start a career and tired of homework . Looking back, I realize how naïve I was. While the “real” world may feel boring and unforgiving on mistakes, the academic world has its own, similar power struggles and minutia. At the time, I resented the fact that even though I applied for internships and jobs outside of my town,nothing had come of them. I am glad of the experiences I went through this year. The most important part of learning is being able to grow and change your perspective.

I  know plenty of people who are going through the same thing I am going through . Graduating college can be overwhelming and jarring for many people and the only way to get through it is by seeking other ways to expand your knowledge and experiences. Through this blog, I want to add perspective through my experiences and offer advice about how to dig through the depression of graduating and moving on to better things.

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