Two years ago from today, I asked myself probably 100 times while wiping my eyes with a full pack of tissues where the past 4 years went. Now, exactly two years later, I am asking where the last 2 years went (minus the tears, tissues, and college friends).
May 23rd 2010, I graduated from Ithaca College (you can read about my graduation day here). I had no job lined up. No interviews. No idea what was going to happen tomorrow. In my mind, come mid-August, I would once again be packing up my bags to head to school early for cheerleading. I clearly had not accepted the fact that I would not be heading back to school after summer was over. Ever. Again.
For the past 22 years, each year of my life was separated into two parts: school and summer. But with no plans to attend grad school, the school part was over. My life was about to be categorized into one part and one part only: work. But unfortunately, I had no ‘work’ lined up.
So I applied to job after job after job… and I interviewed. And I applied. And I applied again. I typed up way too many cover letters and changed my resume far too many times. So much so that I was ready to teach a class on how to get a job. The only problem was that I couldn’t get a job. I maybe got a call from 1 out of the 30 jobs I applied to each day to come in for an interview. And after each interview, I got the same rejection email. ‘We were very impressed with you and your experience, but we have decided to go with another candidate who is more qualified for the job.’ Blah, blah, blah. Fuck you.
Eight months later, I was offered a job. Like a real, full-time, permanent position with benefits. Even though the job wasn’t exactly what I had ever pictured myself doing, I was grateful to have an income. As for the benefits, I was so excited to be offered those (benefits mean grown up status) that I took them, even though I could have stayed on my parent’s insurance and saved money… but whatever (we all make mistakes). The job was not in my ‘desired’ industry, but was slightly related to what I went to school for. And of course, as a naive post-grad who thought she was better than everyone else, I was miserable every day and was constantly on the prowl for a job more closely related to what I wanted to do… or at least what I thought I wanted to do.
During this time, I started a blog called ‘Forever Twenty Somethings‘ … and yes, that is the website you are on right now. It started off as a personal account of my semi-exciting life as a twenty something. I worked. I went to the gym. And I drank. So, just as you would think, I eventually ran out of stuff to write about. That is when I took a turn for… the best. I decided to dabble in magazine writing. I wrote advice columns and stories that everyone could relate to. And people liked it (they really liked it). I received Facebook message after Facebook message and realized that I was kind of good at it. This put a stop to my confidence of knowing that I wanted to go into television production and only television production. I had a new found love for magazine writing and my ‘planned’ life journey was now thrown for a loop. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do anymore, but I knew I had to get a job in television before I made any big changes or else I would always wonder ‘what if…’ So I continued to apply… and I continued to believe that the time I spent at my first job was a waste.
Eventually, with the help of the experience from my first job (see, it wasn’t a waste), I was offered another full-time, permanent job… in television! I knew the hours would be crazy (like working weekends and holidays… ugh gross) and my life would in return be very different, but I knew it was a change I had to make. Months later, I’ve come to love the job. The crazy hours and ever-changing schedule can definitely be stressful and tiring, but the excitement makes it all worthwhile. I’m never bored. I know it will eventually be worth it. The hard work will pay off. And through it all, I still have the time and energy to rage… just not as much as I did in college (which is good for my body, but bad for my tolerance).
The only thing is, I don’t know exactly what I want to do anymore. But that’s fine. I’m 23. I’m young. You might think you’re old after taking off that cap and gown, but you’re not. Try going to work and hearing people talk about weddings, their kids, and their retirement. You will feel like a whole new person – a Freshman in the real world. The only difference between Freshman year of college and Freshman year of the real world is that it lasts much longer… like 10 years longer. But what do years mean nowadays anyway? Time flies… not much changes… and you’re always like ‘wasn’t I just a student?’
From the beginning of Freshman year of college to the start of Junior year so much had already changed. In just two years, I had made friends, lost friends, dated someone, broken up with someone, gained weight, lost weight, and more. And this was the case again during the 2 years leading up to graduation. I made new friends, lived in a new city, started dating my current boyfriend, and worked a couple of amazing jobs (aka internships – RIP).
Because of the many changes I underwent in just four years of college, I couldn’t picture where I would be in 2 years – let alone four – after graduation. I said I would be in NYC. I said I would be working at a major TV network. I said a lot of shit… and most of it never happened. In reality, I lived at home… I moved out a year and a half later 20 minutes down the road… And in less than 4 months, I will be moving in with my boyfriend also 20 minutes down the road from my family’s house. So yeah – my life is changing, but none of it is major. At least not as major as my four years spent in college. My life has no schedule – It’s all so spontaneous. I’ve kept friends, I’ve lost touch with friends. I’ve worked two different jobs. I’ve learned I have a talent that I never knew of before. I’ve developed a concept for money (well… sort of). I stopped raging every single weekend (I don’t know if that’s good or bad). And now two years later, I don’t feel two years older. I feel the same as I did when I graduated. Two years in college is much different from two years in the real world.
My advice to you recent grads is to just let it all happen. Take an internship. Work in retail until you get a full-time offer. Contact everyone you’ve ever known in the real world. Network. Every job is experience for the next. I now know you need to thankful for every experience you are offered. I should not have been miserable at my first job. It helped me to get to my next job. It was a step in the right direction. Everything is. You just need to realize that you most likely aren’t going to get what you want right away. And you might even realize that you want to do something else. Take everything as it comes. You never know what’s going to happen… and no matter what, it all happens for a reason. So take a seat and enjoy the ride. Everything will figure itself out in time.
**All month we are featuring articles from recent grads and graduating seniors on where they are now. You can read the rest of the articles here. If you would like to submit a post for this segment, read this and/or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**