On TV, the real world seemed fun, so after I graduated college and entered the real world, I thought it was going to be a blast. But then, there were bills! And I was tired! And I was bored! And I was broke! And I couldn’t believe I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life. Many years later, I am now 33 (respect your elders!!) and can safely say I was wrong about many things when it came to life after college.
Here are 10 things I got wrong about life in the real world.
1. “Getting a job will be soooo easy.“
With four internships and a number of extra-curricular activities on my resume, I thought prospective employees would look at my experience and hire me on the spot, but no. I wasn’t offered a job until 8 months after partaking in two more post-college internships. The struggle was real.
2. “I’m going to save SO MUCH MONEY when I start working full-time.”
I thought that when I went from making nothing to making real-people-money at a real-person-job, I would be able to put the majority of my income into savings for future expenses. But no. Suddenly there were all of these expenses, and all of these dresses I wanted from Urban Outfitters (throwback lol). Now I’m in a much better position to feel comfortable saving money, but I often think back to when I made literally 1/6th of the amount I make now and wonder how I lived nevermind saved!
3. “I’m going to have a gigantic group of friends forever.“
Years after graduating college, I’ve only kept in touch with five people from college. I also lost touch with a significant amount of friends from high school over the years, but I admit I have an absurd amount of people I’m still friends with from high school for a 33 year-old. Still—gone are the days of having “30 close friends.” What even was that?
4. “There is no need to make friends at work because I have enough friends IRL.“
Life becomes busier and busier every day after you graduate college. Not to mention, you start to change as a person too. And as soon as you stop binge drinking on the regular, you’ll have a lot less in common with a good chunk of people that you used to binge drink with. Work friends are great replacements for these people because 1. you actually have something in common and 2. even though your busy, life gives you 8+ hours a day to see these people without having to fit them in your schedule. (At least this was the case before Covid and throughout the majority of my 20s. Covid hit when I was in my early 30s and suddenly I stopped going out, became a mom, and had no room for new friends. Life hits you fast lol)
5. “I will never become the type who comes home from work and has a glass of wine.“
I thought I would never be able to give up my vodka/sprite drinks. Little did I know, I would eventually replace vodka with wine, and I would be happy with just one glass.
6. “I will probably be engaged by 25.“
I figured by this age, I would be ready to settle down and maybe even move to the suburbs. Although some people at my age got engaged at this age—some were even having their first, second, or third child, I was not. Even when I got engaged at 27, I felt like a child bride. This is why I had a 2.5 year engagement. I was just too busy having fun.
7. “I’ll definitely start having kids before I turn 30.“
As I continued to edge closer to 30, I realized how CLOSE I actually was to 30 and how a child just wasn’t in the cards for me right now. At 26, I can barely even take care of myself. In fact, at 33, I still have trouble with this, but also… I have a child now.
8. “I’ll never be able to refer to my childhood home as my parent’s home. It’s my home too!“
I started calling my apartment “home” and the place I grew up and called home for 21-23 years “my parent’s home” not long after I moved out. Finally I realized that my parents put a roof over my head all those years, and I am grateful for that. And they say all millennials are spoiled…
9. “My youth is over.“
It was just beginning. When I graduated, I deemed anyone who had graduated before me “old.” It took me years to realize that I wasn’t old when I graduated and that I wasn’t even old in my late 20s!
10. “Those were the best four years of my life. Life will never be this good again.“
Many years after graduating, I no longer miss college. Sure I miss my friends, and sometimes I miss the bagels from the local bakery, but I don’t miss the binge drinking or the sleeping in or the homework. I’m a different person now. I have different interests. I want different things. When I left school, I thought that my life as I knew it was over. But I was wrong. Life certainly didn’t stay the same after I graduated college, but it didn’t get worse. I’m as happy now as I was then.
Who knew that five years after graduating college the queen of Captain Morgan shots and dancing on tables would prefer drinking wine on the couch over tequila shots at the club? And who knew that 10+ years after that she would be a boring mom in the suburbs who drinks the occasional margarita for fun? My definition of fun has changed and I know it will change even more in the years to come. I know there is so much more I am wrong about, and I can’t wait to find out.