Graduating & Getting My Sh*t Together: The Post-Grad Struggle

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My college experience was anything but normal. Between attending three different schools and graduating with both an Associates degree and a Bachelor's degree by the age of 20, it's honestly been a whirlwind. But before we get into all of that let's take it alllll the way back to the beginning.

I graduated from high school in 2014. I wasn't an amazing student but my grades were good enough to grant me admission into a popular private school. Although it was made clear to me that I would not be able to stay on campus due to the astronomical costs of doing so, I was still super excited to start college. I pictured myself making a ton of friends, going to college parties, and just living my best life.

What I really got was an average of five hours of sleep every night, a shitload of homework, classes where I never understood exactly what the f**k was going on, and a two-hour bus commute to and from school every day. Add two jobs into the mix (because one just wouldn't do it) and I was a complete mess. On the days where I actually decided to go to class, I was extremely tired and overwhelmed. At the end of the semester, I made the decision that I wasn't going to go back and enrolled at a community college.

Although I was a little upset by the entire situation, I made a promise to myself to do better at the community college and get back to a four-year school. I thrived at the community college, not only were the classes super easy but I was also with all of my friends and felt way less lonely than I did at my previous institution. Three full semesters, two summer sessions, and one winter session later I had finished all of the degree requirements and transferred.

Me at my Graduation Ceremony, 2018

Me at my Graduation Ceremony, 2018

At school number three, I finally got to experience living on campus. I was extremely lucky and able to meet some amazing people. However this university tested me academically, and the intensity of the courses was something that I was definitely not used to. I managed to stay afloat and remained at the school for two years and finished my degree requirements.

When I think about my time at this school I think of all the great nights, great people, and fun I had but I also think about the struggles, the terrible food, and the many times I spent studying in the library until 5 am. By the time I reached my last semester I made the decision that I would be taking time off before returning to graduate school.

After walking in the spring graduation ceremony, I took my last course while studying abroad in Spain. While I was there, especially as the end of my month there inched closer, I started to get anxious about what exactly I would be doing once I got back home.

I had no job lined up for me, I wasn't starting graduate school or a post-grad program like most of the people I graduated with were, and to be really honest I had no plan. Once I got back home I was faced with the amazing but also terrifying reality that I was free to do whatever I wanted. I could play it safe or I could completely switch it up.

My Graduation Cap

My Graduation Cap

Although my post-grad journey has just started, I'm excited to see what the future holds for me. So far my journey has included learning that not every opportunity is for me and having to be okay with that, while also knowing which opportunities I should pursue.

I’ve been trusting myself to make the right decisions for my future and also allowing myself the time and freedom to explore my creative side through projects like The Ryot. For now, I just want to love, to live, to travel, to eat, to write, to create, to just be in this moment of freedom. Before I get stuck with a full-time career or a family or whatever else life hits you with while you're busy making other plans.

I won't lie, in the back of my mind I do think about graduate school and my long-term career. But I also know that when I’m ready I will gladly begin my journey towards those goals.

College taught me a lot. It taught me about the kind of people I want to be around, the causes that I stand for, the types of relationships I want for myself, and the future I see for myself. My college experience also taught me to trust myself and know that I will end up exactly where I am meant to be.

What revelations have you had post-graduation?