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Boru: I graduated, now what?

A personal reflection on the early days of post-graduate life.

Life seems to follow a programmed routine at college — we are used to the known and what we are comfortable and familiar with. Our years of college life occasionally seem endless and dreadful in between midterms and finals. And while we do occasionally change our living arrangements, college is ultimately a familiar territory we live in for years.

College life is a daunting and exciting transition from high school. The change ends up becoming manageable as we adjust to the responsibilities that seem to pile up overnight. We tackle and manage rent, utilities, and tuition costs, which also include learning to live on our own and away from families. It is an incredible opportunity to learn independence and grow as a person, but that growth eventually slows down until we finally find our comfort zone. Suddenly, even a single change could threaten its foundations.

That changes the day after graduation. Some of us have jobs and internships lined up. Others continue with the jobs they had on the side during school. For many of us, our reality raises the question: now what?

I found myself evaluating my goals after I graduated from the University of Minnesota in December. While I was still in college, I had a destination to reach: my bachelor’s degree. Now that I have accomplished that, setting a new milestone became necessary. But taking that first step to decide on what next felt out of reach.

So, I thought, this must be what they call post-graduate blues.

I see this as taking a step back in order to plan for how many steps to take forward. The little time spent wondering what to do next is just part of life because whenever a new situation comes, we learn to adapt.

After a few months of post-grad life, I have realized that life actually starts after graduation — not before. In the sense that, we were entering early adulthood in college, but now comes the adulting part.

Our present reality changes according to the demands of life. I think it is normal to feel lost after college. For the first time, I realize that I have full control of my life now. This is new territory.

It is common to lose balance on what life should be like. Life in high school and college was about deadlines made by professors and internship applications. Now, I get to make my own deadlines. It just takes time to adjust once more.

During school, I made my life so much about school and assignments that I find the post-grad silence to be unbearable. Moving forward with plans I made before I graduated gets delayed to a non-existent present “tomorrow,” while I snuggle further into my mattress.

I think post-grads sometimes get stuck because we are still living in the past: the known. College is all we think about, and as long as our minds live in the past, the body becomes useless to act on its own. So, one way to start breaking away from this confusion is by taking one step at a time.

Start by developing a hobby. Make it consistent and try to enjoy the process.

To those of you who are still in college: don’t forget to build a life outside of academics and school — a life that you can fall back on when the familiarity of impending canvas assignments are in the rear view mirror. You are more than a grade and a student. You are a worthy human. Don’t forget to live and learn practical surviving skills like finance and whatever else that will make your life easier going forward. If you want to take a break after graduation, then by all means indulge yourself. You deserve it.

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  • A Gopher
    Mar 5, 2022 at 11:28 am

    It wouldn’t be so bad if they were at least cognizant that it was their choice to study a degree path with limited potential. Instead, they blame society for not paying them to do the very niche and narrow thing they have studied. If you want to get paid the top undergraduate degree is Chemical Engineering. If you want 100% chance of employment go into nursing. This isn’t hard information to find so don’t act like you didn’t know that Dead German Idiograms degree wasn’t going to have employers banging down your door to hire you!

  • Meat Eater
    Mar 4, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    College has morphed into a day care for young adults. Sure, a few study their chosen field, but for most it is just babysitting before they get a job as a cashier or night manager at the convenience store.

  • UMN0001
    Mar 4, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Isn’t the intention of college is to learn skills for your chosen field so that you can enter the workforce fairly soon after graduation?

    If you don’t know what you are going to do, then why did you get a college degree?