The Realities of Post-Grad Life

Most people look forward to graduating from college — other people get really anxious. For me, post-grad life seemed scary AF, especially since I had no idea what the future had in store for me or what I even wanted to do in life. I’ve currently been “adulting” for ten months now, and after talking with some fellow graduated friends, I have to say that there are lots of similarities in each of our experiences. Here are a few “realities” of post-grad life that I’d like to share from my own personal journey towards adulthood:

Reality: You might have mixed feelings about post-grad life.

After graduating college, I definitely had mixed feelings about post-grad life — especially when school got back into session and all of my friends were making Facebook statuses about their first days back on the grind. I realized I missed being around my friends and running into people that I knew on campus. I missed being able to procrastinate and skip classes (lol). I missed taking part in student group activities, leading as a board member, and going to fun events that had free food (like Cane’s, mmm). But what I didn’t miss was feeling stressed over assignments or exams. I also didn’t miss finals week (hell to the no) or group projects where you would have a team member that didn’t give a shit about their grade or yours. I definitely had mixed feelings about post-grad life.

“The post grad life is bittersweet. I miss the social aspect of college like the getting together with friends who live right above you and [the] going out plans that were made 30 minutes prior to go-time haha! I also miss the freedom and independence of coming and going as I please. One thing I can definitely say I don’t miss about school is the studying, not to mention zombie-turning all-nighters and terror-inducing finals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to learn and don’t take my education for granted, but I would never take back or redo any of those midterms and research papers if I had the choice.
— Gita Lor | University of Minnesota Duluth, Class of 2016

Reality: Finding a job can take up to several months.

Finding a job takes time — the amount of time, though, varies for each person. For me personally, I thought that I would find a job after just one month or so of searching, but in reality, it took me three months. (It also didn’t help that I was indecisive and picky.) I applied to countless job openings, spoke to so many recruiters, and went through dozens of interviews. I also received several rejection emails and phone calls (and let’s not forget being “ghosted” by companies too!). But let me tell you: every rejection I received was super discouraging — I no longer felt that Beyoncé-confidence like I once did when I initially graduated. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or qualified enough no matter how hard I tried to stand out during my interviews or how enthusiastic I showed myself to be.

But despite how many rejections I received or how discouraged I felt, I kept trying. Weeks passed by and it definitely wasn’t easy, but eventually I was able to land a really great job opportunity that I felt content with and grateful for.

“I would describe my experience [to be] fairly easy if you look at it in a time sense. I graduated in September 2015 from Film school. Between September to November, I was working at my candy store […] trying to find a job. I was scared that I wasn’t going to land any jobs because […] I had went on many failed job interviews and I was losing confidence in myself. I knew I was right for all those jobs. I knew I could have been the best but they never hired me. I felt like it was taking forever but I landed this freelance gig with a company called 75F in November that turned into a part-time job, and then into a full-time in 6 months. I’m currently working at 75F as a video content manager and I love it.”
— Kelly Huang | The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Class of 2015

Reality: Once you get a job, work is life.

When I first started working my “big girl job,” I didn’t understand how adults managed to work eight hours every day. I remember coming home each day after work feeling super exhausted and feeling like my life was revolved around my job. From Monday to Friday, I would go to work and then come home, feeling too tired to do anything “productive.” I would find myself relaxing at the end of the day or resorting to watching Netflix the majority of the time.

But as time moved on, I got used to my work routine. Now, I see myself putting in more effort to make plans throughout the week, like going to happy hour with a few coworkers, catching up with an old friend over dinner, or running a few errands here and there. Work can occupy the majority of your time, but there’s always room for balance!

“The first month of working, I didn’t do anything. Then I started to realize that being an adult means putting in the effort. In college, relationships were easy cause you live together or you see them in class or student groups. Now that I’m working, if I don’t put an effort, I do nothing. So now I’m pretty productive […] whether it be seeing friends or going to the gym.”
— Kevin Yi | University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Class of 2016

Reality: You start calling yourself old.

Yes, if this ain’t the truth. I’ve noticed that I’ve been saying “I’m old…” more often these days. Especially when I’m hanging out with friends that are still in college and I hear them complaining about their 7-page papers or exams that are coming up. It makes me feel thankful for not having to worry about those things anymore — but it also makes me feel a little older when I no longer can relate as well as I used to. I’ve also been getting tired and sleeping a lot earlier than I used to — like 10pm early. Yikes. #old #og #stillknowhowtohashtagtho #aye

“Getting a full time position regulated my life to a more set schedule with set responsibilities… I’m getting old.”
— Stacy Luu, | University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Class of 2016

Reality: You actually have no idea how to “adult.”

What even is adulting? How does one file taxes? How do you make a dentist appointment? Why didn’t I start building credit a lot earlier? How does 401k work??

So many questions popped up during my transition into the adulting world. I realized that I had no idea how to actually “adult” or do a lot of things that I didn’t have to do or think about before graduation.

Reality: You actually have no idea how to “adult,” and then “adulting” suddenly gets REAL.

After a few months of “adulting,” I began to realize a lot of things. I realized I was paying more bills and loans than I would have liked. I realized the majority of my paychecks were being used to pay off my bills and loans. It was suddenly more difficult to travel, go on vacation, or take time off because of my limited amount of PTO. Take advantage of the days in college where you can travel freely, procrastinate on homework, volunteer, and explore, because in the adult world, you’ll have a lot more responsibilities to worry about than you once used to.

Reality: Post-grad life is a constant learning experience.

It’s been ten months since graduation, but I’m still learning about post-grad life. I’m constantly learning more about the real world, who I am, and what I want to do with my life. Since graduation, I feel like I’ve embarked on this journey where I’m continuously growing and learning more about myself each and every day. The future is still an unknown mystery to me, but that’s part of the thrill of it all — the thrill of what our generation calls “adulting.”

Signate L

***Special thanks to Kelly Huang, Gita Lor, Stacy Luu, and Kevin Yi for letting me quote you all on my post!