As someone who is currently in her early twenties and a semi-recent college graduate, I completely understand how difficult this transitory time in life can be. To be a little whiny, being an adult is hard. The shock of leaving behind the world of academia and entering the “real” world makes me feel like a goldfish plunged into extremely cold water.
I feel like I’m gasping for air and can’t seem to move forward sometimes. I’m totally guilty of reading (and loving) all the internet posts about why being a college graduate and/or a 20-something sucks. I focus on the negative aspects of this time in my life a lot. However, this age isn’t all bad. It actually can be pretty great. So, in the hopes of decreasing the negativity and spreading more positivity, here are six reasons being a 20-something college graduate isn’t that bad.
1. Everyone your age is going through the exact same thing you are.
The adjustment to working a full-time job, being totally financially independent, and no longer living next door to your best friends can be difficult. The early stages of post grad life can be plagued with self-doubt, loneliness, uncertainty, and instability. But everyone your age is going through a variation of the same thing you are. They’re also learning to adjust to the changes life is throwing their way. Everyone is just trying to keep their head above water. And while the situation you’re in can really suck sometimes, there is some solace in knowing that you aren’t alone in struggling with this time in your life. As High School Musical taught us back in 2006, “We’re all in this together.” Remember that, especially when you start to feel lonely.
2. After four years of all-nighters, falling asleep in the university library, and an obscene amount of caffeine, homework is no longer eating away at your time.
In college, you went to class during the day, maybe worked a part-time job in the evening, and then went home to a paper to write, test to study for, or assignment to complete. Your “free” time at the end of the day wasn’t yours to unwind; it was time for homework. You’ve probably been doing homework for seventeen or more years of your life. Sure, you have new, different responsibilities now and that’s scary, but you’re done with homework. Those days of cramming are over (unless you pursue a higher degree), and that’s worth celebrating.
3. Happy Hour is a new experience for you and one of the best inventions ever.
After college, it isn’t strange to start contemplating going to bed around 9 p.m. every night of the week. Heaven forbid someone suggest you go out to the bars. Staying out until 2 a.m. just so you can wake up maybe with a hangover and even more tired than you already were? No thanks. Instead, Happy Hour is much more appealing, especially at this point in your life when it is still a novelty. Whether you’re meeting up with some friends after work or going with a bunch of co-workers, Happy Hour is awesome. You aren’t breaking your sleep schedule, you’re unwinding after a long day, and it makes you feel pretty dang mature. Surrounded by other working-class people, you can’t help but feel like you’re part of a club you weren’t allowed in before. And that can feel pretty awesome.
4. You are still young enough to get away with using your student I.D.
Unless you were unlucky enough to go to a university/college that put an expiration or graduation date on your student I.D., that wonderful piece of plastic can prove useful for as long as you still look like the college student in your photo. So, you probably have a couple years ahead of you when you could still pass as a student. Yes, this is kind of lying, but take advantage of it. From discounts on movie tickets, food, travel fare, and more, that I.D. card can really come in handy.
5. Your future is just beginning, and there are so many options!
Options can be terrifying. Just starting out, there are plenty of options for what type of job to do, where to live, etc. Making these decisions when there are so many choices can be difficult, but don’t just see the options as a curse. They are pretty great, too. You can experiment with a lot of different things. If one option doesn’t work out, you can pursue another. Don’t see the options as burdens but instead as opportunities. Your life doesn’t have to be totally planned and perfect. Don’t worry if one option doesn’t work out. Just try again.
6. College reunions still happen regularly and are so much fun.
Maybe you moved away after college. Maybe your friends moved away. No matter who packed their bags and left, your friend group probably shrunk quite a bit after everyone accepted their diplomas. And yes, your social life is suffering and the number of nights and weekends you sit alone in your room watching Netflix and hugging your cat is steadily increasing. But you have some exciting times to look forward to: reunions.
Especially when you’re a newbie post grad, you are going to miss your college friends (and your friends are going to miss you). You are all so used to spending so much time together that you all are going to consider it worth it to visit each other regularly. You’ll go visit for a long weekend, or they’ll come visit you.
These reunions are so sweet as you gush (and possibly complain) about your new lives and reminisce about the college years. Even when you aren’t reunited in person, your college friends have your back and are always a quick phone call away. As you all get settled into your adult life, these reunions might happen less often, so enjoy them now!