If you are anything like me, the past four years have flown by in an insurmountable blur and as I have come to realize, that blur has looked nothing like I thought that it would when college started. And I think that’s okay. Just like college was not what I thought it would be when I was in high school , so the “real world” will not be as I might have once thought it would be.
As I see people around me scrambling to find jobs and start their careers, I can only hope that my fellow millennials heading into the so called “real world” realize one thing — in a way, we have actually been in the real world all along. Life isn’t a checklist of steps you have to complete in order to be successful. There are so many life experiences to be had that no amount of lectures, exams, and all night studying sessions can have prepared us for. That is why I think its okay when I see my friends freaking out over the fact that they won’t find a job pertaining to what they have studied in school. I am sure that you have learned so much more than you have just “studied.”
Life is so much more than just college. Life is about what you have done in the meantime and what you plan to do in the future. Of course having a degree is vital to many job opportunities. Of course being well educated is a privilege that should not be taken for granted, but I hate to see people get caught up in the little college bubble that makes someone think that they must only follow the path that they followed for four short years.
Finishing college is an amazing achievement that one should be proud of. This time does not have to be belittled by the stress and disappointed from being rejected by a job or still not knowing what their true career calling is meant to be. Of course, it is important to make money, but there are so many things you can do in the mean time. Finding yourself should not be rushed. You undoubtedly have a place in this world. Just because its discovery hasn’t coincided exactly with the time you are finishing college does not mean that it does not exist.
I don’t like to hear people say, “I need to get a “real job” or “when I have a real job”. The term “real job” is so arbitrary. Any job is a real job! Aspiring to better oneself and move up in a career is a beautiful thing but I would not want any one to feel bad about themselves because they have not yet found a “real job”. If you are waiting tables, or nannying, or doing data entry, or whatever you are doing and are paying your rent, you are already doing awesome. Go you for being so much better off than those who do not have jobs or homes at all.
Being a young, recent graduate is an amazing thing. We are literally the freshest people in the job market. We have skills that come naturally that people who have been working for 30 years just don’t have. Social media, computer skills, and so many things that have just become second nature to us are now actually skills that are marketable to a work environment. So use that. Go and explore the world while you can, meet new people, learn new things, be creative, absorb everything that the world has to offer.
So let’s take a second to celebrate all those who have changed their majors eight times, the ones who are still on the lookout for what their true calling is, and those of us who have persisted on getting a degree despite the ever ominous forewarnings that jobs would not be waiting for us when we finished college. We pushed on anyway. We got a degree. No one will be able to take that away from you. Now go and do something that makes you happy. Do what you have to do to make money, but make sure you are taking time to relax, be creative, have fun, enjoy being young and alive.
A soon to be recent grad who listens to Taylor Swift’s “22” a lot.