Life after college is exciting. Suddenly you don’t have anything holding you back and you can achieve all your dreams. But it can also be scary. It’s okay, everyone is going through the same things you are going through. Here are 10 things that happened after I graduated college.
Practically everyone I know who graduated in 2013 lives at home with their parents. The only people I know who live on their own are in grad school, have to because of a crappy family situation or somehow landed a decent job far from home (I’m looking at you STEM majors). I’d say this accounts for roughly 25 percent of my friends who graduated in 2013.
Very few people make enough money to pay for rent, utilities, student loans, transportation, food and so on, right out of college. Everyone is living at home; it’s not that big of a deal.
#2 You can’t connect with people who are in college anymore
Nowadays I can’t help but roll my eyes at someone still in college complaining about midterms on Facebook. It just seems so trivial in retrospect. I’m not trying to sound mean or insensitive because I know what that felt like. At the time it felt so important, but in the grand scheme of life, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Failing an exam will not affect the rest of your life and you will have much bigger stressors in the future. Enjoy your stress and three day weekends. It won’t last forever.
#3 Meeting new people becomes way more difficult
Making friends and dating in college is easy. You could join a new club, meet people in your classes, go to a campus event or make friends with people on your floor.
It is very difficult to meet new people when you live at home and work with the same 10-50 people each day. Sure, you can meet people at the office, but not everyone wants to or can click with people they work with. There are clubs for adults, but getting involved in those is easier said than done. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually feel like bowling with a bunch of strangers after work on a Tuesday night.
#4 Free time is very limited
When I first started my 9 – 5 p.m. job I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome, I’m going to have so much free time after work and the entire weekend to do things.’
My commute is about an hour and a half each way, and after concentrating intensely for eight hours, I am physically and mentally exhausted. In the evenings I don’t usually accomplish much except for preparing for the next day and watching a couple hours of TV. Working 40 hours a week is no joke.
#5 You will have a newfound appreciation for primetime TV
Since I live with my parents, they pretty much determine what we watch on the TV in the family room on weeknights. Their choice of programming usually includes shows like The Voice, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and American Idol, shows I previously did not care about. But, I’ve grown to find them amusing in a wholesome, Americana way. I’ve also noticed that in the working world, popular television shows are one of the main things my coworkers talk about so I try to stay in the loop.
#6 Weekends become really important
I don’t get much done on weeknights so the weekends have become critical. Laundry, errands, cleaning and socializing have to get done in 48 hours. In college I usually only had class for 3-4 hours a day. If I didn’t feel like going to say, the bank after class, I’d just go the next day. I don’t have this luxury anymore. My free time is valuable now and I have to use it efficiently.
#7 Running 5ks and marathons is suddenly a thing
I don’t know how or why this is happened, but it seems like every weekend I see pictures from people completing some sort of running competition on Facebook. People have gotten really into fitness. That’s cool, I’m not knocking healthy living, but it does lower my self-esteem when I post a status on Facebook about eating a hot pocket at midnight and only get two likes.
#8 ‘Adult’ things like health insurance start to become important to you
HMO, health maintenance organization, and PPO, preferred provider organization, are two different kinds of managed health care plans. In a HMO health care plan you can only see physicians in your network and you must get a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist. You don’t have these kinds of restrictions in a PPO plan, but they are usually more expensive.
This suddenly matters to me now, as does 401ks and interest rates. Ugh, being an adult is so lame.
#9 You get your first taste of what it feels like to be old
The other day my friend who is a middle school teacher asked me if I knew what the ‘NaNa Dance’ was. “I figured out of all my friends you’d know, since you’re the one that keeps up with these kind of things the most,” she said.
I didn’t know what this was. Apparently it is the latest dance craze and all the kids are doing it. I feel old.
#10 No one has it all together
After you cross that stage with a diploma, life will slap you right across the face. Most people are working part-time and temp jobs as they look for something permanent. Some will go traveling around the world with a seemingly unlimited amount of cash. The chosen few who have ‘real’ jobs will question if that is what they really want. You will question everything about your life and fret about the future, but it’s okay because everyone else is too.