I graduated from university in May 2016. It was the most humbling, bittersweet and beautiful day; one that I won’t ever forget. But not long afterwards, my days of exploring and spontaneity came to a halt.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not at all complaining. I’m so incredibly blessed to have graduated from a four-year university and have a full-time job awaiting me, which is a privilege many young adults can only dream of. But I thought I couldn’t possibly be the only person learning to deal with such a life 180, so to speak, so I figured I’d share.
Many of my friends went home. Not home to our rooms in Manhattan; home to their hometowns in their respective US states, miles and miles away. I have always felt very strongly and thought very highly of my friends from university. Not having them around to share the struggle with has proven difficult, and a touch lonesome to boot.
There isn’t a class in existent that preps you to function as a post-graduate. There’s no “how-to” on having to commute at absurdly early hours, clarify how to make it through full workdays week after week, how to not panic if suddenly everyone you interact with every day is 7+ years your senior and aren’t your professors, or how to find time to still do the things you love and maybe sleep. For me, what has proven to be toughest is that there was always a trajectory: graduate high school so you can go to college, work your butt off in college so you can graduate and have a job. Now that I have a job, where do I go from here?
Describing myself as “goal-oriented” is not really a term I like to use, because to me it sounds like I’m trying to be my resume. I think I prefer “dreamer.” I’ve been forced to figure out what it is I truly dream of doing: today, tomorrow, in three weeks, two years from now, or five years from now. I never dreamed of being just one thing (My unrealistic dream of being a fashion designer died right around the time I realized that I can’t draw), but I do dream of seeing more of the world, writing more, and being a resource for other people.
I’ve created the time to carve out my own trajectory towards my dreams, which has given me something to work towards. It does not always fill the void that was left by my university days, but it makes the void a little smaller. It’s fulfilling. (Warning: one more Hamilton reference coming at you…) I might not be adventuring on a regular basis, but I’m not standing still. And that, in and of itself, is something to look forward to.