Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Ode To Recent Graduates

Exactly one month and 12 days ago I joined the exclusive club I worked so hard for four years to be in. The college graduate's club. (Yes, I am aware this is not a real club, but if anyone wants to start a support group, tell me when the meetings are. I'll bring the tubs of ice cream.)

If any of you reading this are in the same sinking boat as I am, then well, this post is for you. Of course I'm not pretending to be an example for everyone's post-graduation experiences, but here's how my boat's been sailing as of late. After graduation, I lived in a bit of a daze for a while. I celebrated with family, said goodbye to friends, and packed up my apartment to move back home. I thanked everyone for their congratulatory wishes and recited my broken record response to the inevitable question everyone asked - "So what are your plans now?". 

This question, in its various forms, swept past my ears so often that I could anticipate exactly when someone was about to say the words. They always made the same face. It was an almost apologetic expression - as if they knew subconsciously what the answer was. I'd make up some version of "I don't know" without actually having to say the words. Something about waiting to hear back from a few jobs I'd applied to. 

As the congratulations began to dwindle down and my boxes started to get unpacked as I moved back in to my childhood home, I started to worry that I'd never have an answer to the question. Those same job applications were still unanswered. It's not that I wasn't trying to find a plan for myself, I was - but you can only refresh Linkedin so many times in one day. 

I've started to settle in to my new post-grad life at home. I've hung up my cap and gown in the closet and caught up with old friends. I'm enjoying my time while I'm here with my family, and while I still haven't found a replacement for my trustworthy campus coffee shop, Mr. Coffee will do just fine for now. And yes, even though it's only been about a month, it's hard not to be cynical about the prospect of a job and a future with an empty email inbox.

So, as you may have guessed, my answer to the question is still the same as it was the day I walked across that stage. But today, I'll tell it to you straight. I don't know. Because you know what? I don't. I don't know where I'll be living in the next few months, or if I'll be working or applying to grad school or joining the circus. And that's okay. I've decided to take this new chapter of my life one day at a time. And today, I am grateful. Grateful to have a college education, and to have a degree in something I'm passionate about at the age of 22. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have had the experiences I've had or to have the freedom to come home to their parents and have a roof over their head as they look for a job. I'm not writing this to gloat, I'm writing this so that maybe some of you fellow grads who are in the same situation as me can find some sort of peace in knowing you're not the only one. I've decided to take this time of unknown futures to enjoy the present. I don't know what my plans are now. Saying that is both terrifying and exciting. But I know one thing. If we could make it through those 4+ years to get to this point, we can make it anywhere. 

I am, to quote John Green, "Grateful to be a little boat, full of water, still floating". If you're in this boat with me, let's just keep floating - we'll find the answer eventually.


No comments:

Post a Comment