As soon as you graduate, you are bombarded with new emotions and new information. At first, graduating feels like a dream. It hasn’t quite hit you yet and your adrenaline lasts a while after you get off the stage. Later, all your friends drink wine with you until you forget all the things you have to worry about later.
But, then you move out. You pack up all your junk into plastic bins and unscrew your old bed that has lasted you throughout your college years. You smile at your apartment and roommate, thinking about all of the horrible and amazing moments you have shared there since your junior year. Slowly, you take down your pictures of all your friends and pack it up with the rest of your memories. Your best friend is the first to leave that day and you can’t help but feel uneasy, like everything around you is standing still while you are crumbling.
Then, you move home. Your parents are so excited to have you home and it feels a little bit like high school except with newfound freedom. You are welcomed with home cooked meals and the comfort of familiarity. A few days turn into weeks and it honestly just feels like summer vacation, until it doesn’t. Just when you start to feel more comfortable and at ease, you begin to wonder what everyone else has been up to.
And then you curse the existence of social media. On Facebook, a girl from your English class just posted about her new amazing job in journalism. Another girl on Instagram posted about getting her dream job. At 21 years old. How is that even possible? Some newly grads are traveling around the world hugging elephants and some are taking the plunge and going to graduate school. You should be happy for these people right? They are getting to live out their dreams and are seeing their goals come to life right before their eyes, but frankly, you aren’t happy. You’re scared shitless. For yourself.
Even though it’s only been four weeks since you graduated and even though graduation should be a celebratory time, you feel behind. You start to have a good old fashioned panic attack and your lungs feel like they could snap from lack of oxygen. so you do the smart thing and start to look at internship websites and frantically search the web until three am looking for a magical ad about a magical job so you can magically be happy again. But then you realize you don’t even know what kind of job you want yet. Little voices in your head tell you that you don’t have talent and you are never going to get a job you truly love. Those voices can be loud if you let them in. And they can also tear you down.
After some time of hearing those voices, I say, screw them. Tune them out and say goodbye to that kind of negativity. Panicking about what you cannot control is not going to change anything. What you should first tell yourself is that you made it out alive and survived four years of college. Remember those times in your dorm room freshman year when you never thought you would feel happy or survive in college? Well, you did it and you should be proud. Secondly, you need to chill out. Yes, chill out. While looking at friends’ exciting posts about their jobs/babies/cars is emotionally draining, you need to let that jealousy go in order to work on yourself.
In our day and age, people are so focused on other people. Franky, I think it is making everyone freak out more than they should be freaking out. Just because your friend from college has moved to her dream state, does not mean you will never be able to do that too. While social media and our society focuses on the success of others, you need to focus on what you have to offer and what you are good at. Trust me, you are going to have terrible days and great days, and sometimes you will feel like you are getting left behind. But five years or even ten from now, I bet you will get that job. I bet you will publish that article, travel to other countries and I bet you will even live in your dream home.
So, to all you recent graduates: With a few hiccups along the way, you will get to where you need to be in your own pace and time. Oh, and stop stalking your friends and their cool jobs. You’ll get there one day.