Go to college, they said. Get a degree. Make new friends. Find a career that you’ll be forced to stick with for the rest of your life. Your college years are given so much hype from family, friends, TV and movies that, of course, you can’t wait to go. Whether you attend a college down the street, an hour away, or across country, you can’t help but look forward to the best years of your life. But what happens when those best years are over?
1. Your chosen career may not be hiring
You spend at least four years in classes becoming a professional in your chosen field, whether it be marketing, accounting, education, medicine, theatre, you name it. You spend hours listening to lectures, reading textbooks, and staying up until the next morning studying. Long story short, you invested a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your profession.
Shortly after graduation, or even before, you start searching the newspapers and various online hiring sites to look for your ideal post college job. You spend days searching company websites related to your certification, but there either aren’t any postings or there are postings you’re not qualified for. But continue looking, I’m sure something will open soon.
2. Your social circle slowly diminishes
They say college is a place where you go to find your bridesmaids, or at least your lifelong friends. At school you see your friends almost everyday, whether it be in classes, living with them, getting meals at the dining hall, or going out on those Tuesdays you pretended were Fridays. You vow to be friends forever and promise to keep in touch after graduation. Unfortunately if you go to a big school, most of your friends live in different parts of the state, or out of state, or possibly a different country.
It’s not that you don’t want to stay in touch after college, sometimes it’s physically impossible. After you accept the idea your best friends don’t live down the hall from you anymore, you have to plan ahead when you want to see them. It becomes an issue of finding a day and time when everyone actually has free time, which could take days of planning. Don’t get me wrong, I still talk to and see a lot of my college best friends, but there are some friends that have turned into complete strangers, not because we weren’t close but we got busy with life.
3. Moving back home? Good luck, you’ll need it
After four years of independent living (not including those winter and summer breaks), you’re not going to be used to your parents telling you what to do again. When you were living on your own, you had your own schedule and did things on your own time; laundry, cleaning your room, cooking meals, curfews (or lack thereof). Now that you’re back home with your family, your daily schedule is already predetermined. Oh you’ll be the only one home tomorrow? Can you mop the kitchen floor, dust the cabinets, go grocery shopping, wash the dog, vacuum the bathroom?
All you really want to do is lay on the couch and watch reruns of Friends or cooking shows on The Food Network; after all, you did just spend four long, hard years studying your ass off, don’t you get a vacation? Not when you’re a 22 or 23 year old living under mommy and daddy’s roof. Speaking of mommy and daddy’s roof, I don’t think they’d appreciate you coming home at three or four in the morning like you used to when you were living on your own, so say goodbye to life after midnight.
4. Where are you going to put all that stuff?
For the past four years, you’ve had two bedrooms – your actual room at home and all the furniture you lug back and forth every school year. Now that you’re moving back home, you’re faced with the impossible task of combining both bedrooms into one. You’ve got more storage space than things to actually store. Suddenly your drawers and closet aren’t big enough (you don’t remember owning these many clothes). You seem to have two of everything. For the next couple of months, you’re going to be arranging, then rearranging, to combine your two bedrooms into one.
5. Sorry, we’re looking for someone with experience
Back to the excruciating task that is job hunting, which after a while it seems that college did NOT prepare you for, you will have interviews. There will be some aspect of your resume that impressed or sparked the interest of the employer. So you get dressed in your business suit, shave, do your hair and make yourself presentable to hide the fact you’ve been wearing sweatpants all week. You get to the interview, answer the questions in a timely manner and have a great connection with the interviewer. You gave them all the answers they wanted to hear and presented your case that you are the perfect fit for this position. After leaving that interview feeling positive that you nailed it, the employer contacts you and says “We regret to inform you we have chosen another candidate for this position who has experience in the field” (I have so many of these letters, I can make my own book). I don’t understand how any college graduate is going to get a job if every employer is looking for experience. Someone needs to take one for the team and give us that experience!
6. Six-month grace period, my ass
It’s no secret anymore that going to college is going to cost you a crazy amount of money, and you can save up all you want but it just won’t be enough so you’re forced to take out student loans. With tuition increasing everywhere, student loan debt becomes unimaginable after four years. If you’re like me who went into college with no money to my name, not only did you have to take out financial aid from your college, but you also had to take out private loans from the state, pretty much doubling your student loan debt for the next ten to fifteen years.
Most loan companies give you a six-month grace period after you graduate, which sounds promising. What most loan companies don’t tell you is during that six-month grace period, they still expect you to pay the interest. After that grace period is over, WHAM! You get slammed with a huge bill and you were not prepared for it at all. Six months is definitely not enough time to save up enough money to cover the interest and principle. Also, what do they expect you to do if you don’t land a job in those six months? No big paychecks = no big payments. Student loans attribute to probably 75% of my anxiety so I’ll still be trying to figure this one out with you guys.
I don’t regret going to college whatsoever. I learned so much about myself and really became the person I am today, which is someone I’m extremely proud of. I studied a subject I’m extremely passionate about, even if it did take me a year and a half to find a full time job. No one can predict the future, but enough people have graduated college to know the struggles that come with post grad life, so it would be nice if someone could warn you ahead of time so you can prepare for it.