7 Stages Of Life After College

So… you graduated college.

Welcome to your nightmare.

Just kidding!

There are a whole range of emotions you will feel after graduating college… You just have to go through the not-so-good feelings to achieve happiness. Here are the 7 stages of life after college:

1. Shock. It’s over. It’s all over. You graduated and you have to go home. Well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay there. Or maybe you can stay there… but you can’t go to school there. Unless you do grad school, but that’s not going to be the same. You want to be an undergrad! I mean, there’s no way school can be completely over for you… right? But everyone’s leaving! Where are they going? Make them stop! You’re not going to see most of these people for so long ever again. You’re not going to live within walking distance of all your friends ever again. You’re not even upset that you don’t know what the F you’re going to do next… You’re more upset that you’re leaving what you know (and love) behind. This can’t really be happening right? Ohhh but it is. BUT IS IT?

2. Denial. BINGE DRINKING COMMENCE. Even if you’re working, you drink on a regular basis, just like you did in college, over the weekend and during the week. You might be a real person from 9-5 Monday through Friday… but all other times, YOU ARE STILL THAT CRAZY, YOUNG KID WHO JUST WANTS TO PARTY. If you don’t have a job, you continue to look, but you also take an interest in internships (they make you feel young) and beach days that involve tanning and drinking. You know eventually you will get a job (or at least you hope), so you might as well have one last Summer break… right?

3. Confusion. Once you accept the fact that you’re becoming a ‘real person,’ you realize your binge drinking fest can’t last forever (or can it?), so you’re left not knowing what to do. How the hell are you supposed to be a real person when you feel like a college student on an infinite summer break? You either have a job and are now this awkward 22 year old creeping around an office… OR you don’t have a job and you have no idea what you’re going to do about it. You have inner conflicts about whether or not you should go to grad school, and your mind changes basically every day. You don’t even know if you’re interested in what you majored in anymore. You often feel the need to do something crazy, whether it be something you’ve never done before… or something you’ve done, but know you shouldn’t be doing. Life is moving way too quickly, and you have no idea how to handle it. What’s your age again?

4. Anger. You are sick of working. You already want to do something new, but you don’t know what… or where. You want to go out like you used to, but you just don’t have the energy. FOMO is still a thing — but sometimes you can’t stomach alcohol (gasp!) or you just can’t keep your eyes open. And this makes you an extremely bitter, unhappy person. This is the case even if you still don’t have a job… Especially if no one is calling you for interviews. You are just flat out pissed 24/7. Like, you want to be a real person, but the world isn’t letting you.

5. Depression. At the end of the Summer, you cannot handle the fact that all these students are going back to school and you’re not. And through the duration of the school year, the sight of college students’ neon-clad Facebook pictures and Instagram photos make you sick. This all makes you finally realize that you’re not a student anymore — you’re a real person. But you don’t want to hear it. You miss your friends. You miss your free time. You miss blackout Wednesday. You miss not having to show up to class. You miss it all. But you’re never getting it back… are you? That in itself makes you cry.

6. Loneliness. Eventually, you really stop going out like you used to. All you do during the week is work and go to the gym, AKA you don’t hang out with anyone. Sometimes you’re even so tired from the week prior, that you stay in one or BOTH nights a weekend. And even though you’re partially doing this to yourself, you claim that you have no friends anymore. You wonder how you will ever have close friends again without living within walking distance of everyone?! Basically, you know it’s never going to be like it used to — BUT YOU WANT IT TO. So bad. You just feel so… alone.

7. Acceptance. After feeling ‘alone’ for a while, you grow to like it. You don’t want to be surrounded by people all the time. You need your space, especially after long days of being harassed in the office and long weeks of the daily grind. You’ve learned how to balance your schedule, and can even fit in plans with friends during the week sometimes. Sure, Monday mornings still suck, but they’re not the end of the world. You, my friend, have adjusted to life after college. You don’t even get upset when the ‘kids’ start going back to school. That just makes you feel old. But not as old as when friends and ex bfs and gfs start getting married — But once you realize that you’re not the one partaking in such activities (yet/if ever), you’ll feel young… and excited for what’s next on your life agenda. You’ll realize that college graduation wasn’t the end for you… it was the beginning. And suddenly, life won’t seem so bad anymore… Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This post originally appeared at Forever Twenty Somethings.

featured image – Flickr / kaybee07

A writer currently living in Boston. She runs Forever Twenty Somethings, an online magazine about navigating life in your twenties.

Keep up with Samantha on Twitter and forevertwentysomethings.com

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