Up until recently, I have spent my whole life being defined by where I was in my education. In high school, I was a teenage brat whose life was consumed by tests, college applications and severe mood swings. My friends and I existed entirely in a culture that was created by our high school. Those seven hours we spent at school every day shaped our relationships, social lives, and identities.
Then I went to college, which is its own shitshow culture. Your lifestyle is totally bizarre, and you know you will never live that way again. It’s like you were sent to a summer camp for four years where you basically learned about Judith Butler and the drawbacks of binge drinking. You slept in late, ate a lot of crappy food, and discovered your favorite author. And then it’s over. The bubble pops and you’re let back into real life, which is what exactly? High school? When was the last time your life didn’t feel like summer camp?
But wait, you have one more label to hide behind—it’s a label that will once again inform your identity and buy you time. I’m talking about being a post grad of course—a state of being that has been captured in films like The Graduate and Reality Bites, and has been described way too many times on Thought Catalog (last one, I promise!). As much as people bitch and complain about it though, they also use it as a security blanket. They take solace in having something define them again. When you tell people that you recently graduated college, people immediately get it and are just like, “Okay, honey. You’re looking for a real job? Yup, I feel you. Having a hard time with all of it? That’s totally understandable. Well, good luck!” You ride that post grad wave until you can’t ride it any longer. Which brings me to my question, when can you no longer ride the wave? When do you stop becoming a post grad and start becoming someone who just doesn’t have a career?
I graduated college a year and a half ago, and it took me about a year to land a big boy job (thanks guys!). It happened just in the nick of time too. After being a college graduate for a year, I was starting to feel like I didn’t have the right to carry around that post grad title. I wasn’t someone fresh off the college boat. I had stepped off of it a long time ago and that shit was now barely a spec on my horizon.
Some of my friends feel screwed. They graduated in ’09 and haven’t found a job in their field yet. They know the post grad schtick doesn’t work for them anymore but they’re not really sure how else to identify. I mean, when do you really stop clutching to it? When you get a real job? Is that when you can rid your life of any post grad vibes and just be a person with a career?
You’re in limbo. You’re a post-post grad. You’re holding on to something past its expiration date because life won’t let you move on to your next label. So you’re just forced to sit in the waiting room until someone calls your name. In the meantime, all you can do to prevent yourself from looking pathetic is to stop making references to your life being like the movie Post Grad starring the chick from Gilmore Girls.