It’s Really Sinking In That College Is Over

I don’t really think college is the best time of your life. College is okay. You don’t have to do all that much to successfully achieve a liberal arts degree, and if you have at least a modicum of self-control and are generally an intelligent person, you can spend a lot of time getting fucked up without consequence, aside from an occasionally low bank account. In this sense, my lament is not over missing the “golden days” of college. Meh. It’s not about the pressures and demands of the “real world,” either. While I’ve not exactly entered this place, I’m not afraid of it — I embrace the idea of being self-sufficient, and I look forward to just getting by while cutting my teeth. Really, I’m excited for the future, and the present’s fine too. I’m driving from Kassel, Germany to Brussels, Belgium right now on a month and a half tour wherein, so far, the trip has paid for itself. Being a musician rarely pays off, but sometimes strikes even, if you’re lucky.

So at this point, it may be questionable what I’m even distraught over. It isn’t that things are harder. It’s that everything post-college is immediately and inherently different. In college, everything could be looked at through a four-year scope: friends, lovers, lifestyle choices. I never wondered where my friends would be in a month, a year. They were there for the same four years as me. Now, I wonder which of my friends will take a leave of absence from my life — for an internship in New York, freelance work in Los Angeles, whatever. While these things are worthy of celebration, the after-effect for me personally is a friend I’ll see much, much less.

Relationships have changed entirely. I have always been one to take relationships very seriously, looking toward the long-term, but relationships in college often seemed limited to four years, max. However bittersweet it was to know your lover would likely head in a different direction after graduation, it was the reality of college. In the month and a half since graduating, I haven’t put any effort into new relationships. This is in part due to the fact that I lived with my parents for two weeks, and have been in a different city every night since (which is a bit too transient for love), but also because I’m terrified that there will be no definitive crossroads at which you sit down and say “college is over, we have to part ways” or “I love you immensely and will follow you anywhere.” I love commitment, but I’m afraid of being in the early stage of a relationship and not knowing when commitment will be required because there are no more definitive time frames — only the future.

My most prevalent concern is becoming stagnant. In college, there was always something to look forward to, always something to aim for. A great party, a miserable term paper, going home for a week — there was always something in sight. I fear post-college is an endless tunnel. The only thing I can think to do about this is to keep moving. The only thing I can think to do is keep living and try to progress and change whenever possible, as frequently as possible. Stay in touch with friends, visit whenever possible, be open to love but don’t obsess over it, make a little bit of money, stay alive. I guess Blink 182 said it best, “I guess this is growing up.” Or maybe it was Kid Rock with “get in the pit and try to love someone.” Either way. TC mark


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  • jess

    i’m sorry, but typo in the first sentence? hahahaha.

  • Grammar Nazi

    First words.. “I’m don’t” You should probably go back to college then..but other than that, kudos.

    • spencerradcliffe

      Not my original text, paraphrased incorrectly by the editors. Thank you for the sound advice though. I imagine the same does not apply to yourself, as your degree in anonymous snarky remarks in online comment sections has clearly paid off.

  • Lauren

    This is how I feel exactly.

  • Akeem

    the first sentence has a grammar issue.

  • Only L<3Ve @

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • Melissa

    I love this. It’s not really anything I haven’t read/thought before, but it’s worded nicely and applicable. So there’s that.

  • onyae

    I love this

  • P. Stevens

    The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving.

  • jesshett (@jesshett)

    ah ha! a blink182 quote! #slowclap

  • Heather Sundell (@MissHezah)

    Well darling, as a slightly senior 27 year old, I might be able to shed some light. You shouldn’t be worried about life becoming stagnant. You should be looking forward to STABILITY. As you get older, you realize that it’s not that your life has plateaued. You are still growing and moving, but now things feel a bit more grounded. You have more perspective, and in a few years, more money. Also, all those lame insecurities you are still carrying from college will fall away, and you will become so comfortable with you. It will be ok to have a lazy weekend, or to skip the bar for a night in. It’s a good feeling. Don’t be scuuured. Embrace the change, because you are right. The best time of your life is still ahead of you. Isn’t that enough to look forward to?

  • tillthemusicends

    This is a great article. I especially love the last paragraph, it’s very relatable.

  • The Smile Scavenger

    Been in the real world for a year – believe me, if you don’t want to become stagnant, you won’t. There are still many life milestones and MANY things to do in your free time… so many that you may actually have to schedule “nothing” weekends. @_@

    PS- I think Kid Rock said it better.

  • Mari

    You are not alone.

  • Maxim P

    “I fear post-college is an endless tunnel. The only thing I can think to do about this is to keep moving. The only thing I can think to do is keep living and try to progress and change whenever possible, as frequently as possible.”

    Also 2012 grad, and this is bull’s eye for me. I have friends with intelligent degrees and excellent GPAs working as baristas Starbucks and receptionists in offices, stuck, stagnant, and lost in the routine. That’s my biggest fear. Excellent article

  • winterca

    This is the train of thought I haven’t allowed myself to really have since graduation because I’m scared of what I might come up with.

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