The Emotional Stages Of A Recent College Graduate

Looking back, if I had told myself I would miss going to school I would literally die of laughter. Fast forward a few years, and I often find myself reminiscing about the good old days of college, and what I would do to go back. Crazy, right? I can assure you that my mom is just as shocked as I am.

I genuinely had a great time in post-secondary school. College and University are a million times better than high school for a number of reasons. It was an amazing experience! But then I realized what one of my favorite prof’s was right…

“The weeks and months after school are the hardest weeks to come.”

The frustration of not finding a job in your field kicks in quickly. Seeing some of your friends get that dream job from internship opportunities or getting an extremely lucky is so bittersweet. You’re so unbelievably happy for your friends because you saw how hard they worked for that goal. But…at the same time it only makes you more frustrated and feeling like it’ll never happen to you too.

The more it happens, the worst it gets. But when someone you strongly dislike gets that job… Oh boy. A volcano of anger erupts from your mouth and the frustration is at an all-time high. “If she can get a job, why can’t I!?” If I’ve said that sentence once, I’ve said it a thousand times.

The search for a dream job still goes on, but so does the hunt for the temporary job. You feel pressure from everyone enough as it is, but then you start to pressure yourself. As much as you love the job you’re working, nothing beats the feeling of doing what you love. In most cases, you really don’t like it, and you begin to feel like you’re settling. And the more months that pass by, the stronger the feelings become.

You feel like you’ve wasted a lot of money and time, like you’re not good enough, and that you’ll never wake up feeling satisfied. Obviously there are days where you really enjoy the way your life is going, but then

you realize that you’re at a completely different stage than your friends.

Summer time was great because you feel like the only difference between you and your friends is that they have to go back to school and you don’t; then it ends and they go back. When you were in school you had your own friends from all over. It’s almost as if you have a different life aside from your “home” friends. Within a matter of weeks you find yourself drifted away from the people who were closest to you and you feel socially deprived.

It’s hard to keep in contact when everyone’s at different stages in life. Not one person you know is in the same boat as you, so you feel un-relatable and irrelevant in people’s lives..  It makes you feel normal when you meet someone who just graduated too. For the first time, you’re actually grateful to go to family functions.

At the same time it also makes you feel like crap going to family functions and the only topic of conversation with most people starts with, “So are you still applying for jobs in your field?” And end with, “Well keep applying, it’ll come.” And God forbid you’re single! (But that’s another story). You know everyone has the best intentions when they ask you and talk to you about it, but you can’t help like feel like a failure.

Aside from how amazing college was socially, I honestly didn’t mind going to school every day because I LOVED what I was doing. It never felt like school or homework to me. You meet the most amazing people who have similar interests as you, and you genuinely feel like you belong there.

I was the happiest I’ve ever been in school.

As my uncle told me in a drunken speech before post-secondary school started, “College is the best years of your life, don’t waste them.” And that statement stuck with me then and still sticks with me now. I would kill to go back to school just to feel like I did then, but I don’t need to further my education any more than I already have, and I can’t stay a kid forever.

Being an adult in the real world is definitely not what we thought it was when we were kids. It has its perks, but mentally it adds a whole new stress to your life. So if you’re still in school, cherish the moments when you’re trying to finish a lab at 3 AM with your friends, and the early morning coffee runs. It may suck now but you’ll be missing them more than anything when it’s over.

Featured image via We Heart it.


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