I think I speak for most when I say the first six months post-college graduation are more depressing than your average breakup. Maybe it’s having real responsibility thrown on you overnight like a 1,000-pound weight. Or it could be that you suddenly find yourself with “finances,” as your parents have cut all your credit cards. Or perhaps it’s simply that growing up is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever have to do. There will be thousands of changes continually coming your post-grad way every single day. Out of those thousand, here are ten that you’re almost guaranteed to experience and learn within the first six months. God speed.
1. “Sleeping in on Saturday” becomes code for “waking up at 8:30 a.m. and tossing until 9 a.m. when you finally get up because you have to pee.”
You can’t sleep in and skip your morning meeting like you did your 8 a.m. class. This just in: a job is an all-day event. Your sleep routine becomes so robotic during the week, its monotony carries over to your beloved weekend, no matter how hard you go on Friday night. So early to bed, early to rise becomes your personal mantra, whether it’s welcomed or not.
2. When you walk into T.J. Maxx, you swiftly and unwearyingly pass the handbags, clothes and accessories, and file straight toward the home décor section.
Twenty-two years it took me to consciously choose purchasing specialty hand soaps and patterned throw pillows over a chiffon blouse or new pair of boots. It’s a sad day when this happens, and you probably won’t even realize it’s happening until you’re already knee deep in picture frames and strangely shaped glass bowl centerpieces. After making this discovery, you’ll be sad for the duration of the car ride home, but fret not. Once that adorable piece of fake fruit you just bought is proudly displayed on your kitchen table, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear.
3. You become a professional scavenger hunter.
If the power happens to go out in sub-zero temperatures, you need to check your circuit breaker box. Where might that be? Good question. Hunt you will until you flip each one of those damn little switches.
If your drain is clogged from your own long hair, you search like Google to find a skinny instrument to snake the drain (since we all know you sure as hell aren’t sticking your finger in there).
If there’s a bug, YOU have to scope it out and kill it. (Not only do you search and seize the bug, but you probably have to find something to kill it with, too.)
And just like at your parents’ house (and in college), you still need to hunt for the remote. Except now, it’s like Indiana Jones mode, because you’re the one paying for cable.
4. You don’t use heat.
In order to save on the electric your parents no longer foot the bill for, you switch your thermostat to “off” and invest in something that does not involve a recurring payment, like a down comforter or space heater. Or both, if you live in Cleveland.
5. You can legitimately purchase real household items without asking, “why did I buy this?”
For example: an electric wine bottle opener. Use: To open the bottles of wine you now drink that actually contain corks (being as you have bid the twist-off and box wines farewell in this adult life of yours).
6. You get too drunk at your first work holiday party and decide to rest your head on the shoulder of your Executive Creative Director.
With an open bar comes great responsibility. With too much wine comes really breaking the ice with your superiors. On the bright side, you can only go up from here.
7. You discover outdoor parking is the devil himself.
I’m really not trying to exaggerate here, but it once took me 25 minutes to clean the snow off my small SUV before work. I am a short person with even shorter arms. They don’t make snow brushes long enough. And they certainly don’t bold the outdoor parking disclaimer in your lease.
8. You constantly question your relationship status.
At this stage in the game, considering you just graduated and probably moved somewhere new, there’s an 80% chance you’re single. So you get on Instagram and see photos of:
- Happy couples
- Engagement rings
- Food (unrelated, but really—too many people Instagram mediocre-looking food)
After a few nights out of not meeting anyone you’d remotely want to date, you give up and contemplate purchasing a cat to fill this void. But just as you’re reaching for some cat food, you suddenly find peace and realize, YOU’RE ONLY 23! You have plenty of time to find someone, and right now, you shouldn’t be cheating on the job you just got six months ago anyway.
9. You find real love knows no distance.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see many of my closest comrades multiple times since college graduation. Even when I cant, they’re only a FaceTime call away. Real love and friendship don’t know distance. Though that is 100% cliché, a dear friend of mine recently reminded me, “Ideas only become cliché because they’ve been repeatedly proven true for so long.”
10. You get to know you.
Living and surviving on your own makes you take pride in much of what you do. You learn a lot about yourself, and you are forced to work on bettering yourself (because let’s be honest, you’re CONSTANTLY making mistakes). You value alone time, and you get insightful. And most of all, you become a friend to you. At the end of a good day after you’ve learned a lot in an industry you love, you take your arm and pat your own back. You’re doing this on your own, and you’re doing all right.