Dear Professors Who Made False Claims About Post-College Life,
You might have taught us definitions, the importance of media, what a business is, how to successfully write papers, and what books from the 1800s were trying to tell us – but you forgot to mention there’s so much more to learn in life.
One thing you simply ‘forgot’ to teach us was how to get a job. There are millions of jobs out there… Tons of different jobs for each specific field of interest. But which ones are for us recent grads? What kind of jobs should we apply to? What should we search for? Do you, umm, have any connections? What about advice? And not the fake advice you love to give: ‘You will get a job. You went to a great school and have a lot of experience already.’ False. Everyone went to a ‘great school.’ Everyone has the same experience. At least warn us about this. At least warn us that last year’s post-grads (and the year before that too) are applying for the same jobs as us. It would really make us feel a lot better after graduating with our heads held high in the air when they should really be looking straight ahead with a look of fear.
Another thing: We don’t know everything. In fact, what I’ve learned is we really don’t know anything at all. And what we do know, we should keep to ourselves until we are in a management role. No one wants to hire and/or talk to the know-it-all who thinks they know more than the person who has been working at the company for 10 years. You never told us we’d be better off in our jobs keeping our mouths shut about what we learned in class. None of that matters anymore. People do things differently. So even though you (the professor) may have taught us one thing, that doesn’t mean we should tell our boss that they’re doing it wrong. Because no, they’re just doing it differently. And maybe one day, when we are in a position of power, we will teach things our way. But until then, that doesn’t matter. We will be sponges. We will soak everything up that we can and know, for now, that we. know. nothing. Our ‘recent grad’ years are the time to learn. Experience > what you taught us in class (sorry, but it’s true).
Oh, and yes you may have semi-prepared us for the working world, but what about the real world? You know… the world beyond the working world? The one where we become real people who don’t start school at the end of Summer each year. The one where Summer still means ‘work.’ The one where our lives remain the same on a day to day basis every single year – for the rest of our lives. The one where we are tired every single day, including weekends. Or wait – you are basically still in college and pretty much have your Summers off too, but we’ll ignore that for now. Life after college isn’t just about work and getting jobs. It’s much more than that. And if you build it up to be this awesome time period in our lives where we will surpass any expectations that anyone had of us, you will just disappoint us even further. You should have prepared us for the loneliness we will feel not living next door (or in the same apartment/house) as all of our friends. You should have prepared us for the ‘I-have-no-friends‘ feeling we will feel basically every day except that one day every two months where all our friends somehow manage to get together despite our ever-so-busy schedules. I know you don’t want to make us upset, but it would have been nice to know what it’s like out here before we arrived.
And one last thing: don’t make us feel special when we’re not. Leave that to our boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, and BFFs. If there is one special person at every college in America there would be 7,690 special people from the most recent graduating class. And although I’m sure there are that many ‘special’ people in the country, I’m sure more than one person from each university in the US think they’re special. In fact, after receiving that diploma and sitting through the ridiculously long graduation ceremony where tons of people dressed as wizards smile and clap for us, we all feel like as soon as it is over we will Pinky and the Brain this town and take over the world… But, uhh, we won’t. We will most likely move back home with our parents or move into an apartment we can’t afford and start paying bills (yuck). Post-college life isn’t glamorous. It’s lonely (where my roommates at?). It’s tiring (you mean no more blackout Wednesdays?). And it’s a wake up call (I. am. not. special?).
You never told us it would be this hard. You never told us we would be living on indeed.com, taking up interviewing as a full-time job (that is if we get the interviews), and when we did get the jobs, you didn’t tell us we still had a lot to learn. I was under the impression I would be living elsewhere in some awesome apartment with money in the bank and a baller career where I would be supervising people and loving life. However, I am not rolling in dough. I am not where I thought I would be in my career (even though I now realize I am where a 23 year old is supposed to be in her career). Basically, I do not feel like an adult. I feel like more of a child than anything. I am more confused about my life now than I ever felt in college. I am right back where I started in the 1st grade. The bottom of the bottom with a LOT to learn.
Not all you professors were wrong. I did have one professor who told us we probably wouldn’t get jobs right away and if we did, we most likely wouldn’t like them. He told us not to worry about it too much though. He told us to have fun and embrace our youth while we still can, because once we start work it will be forever. These words sat with me, but I still had no desire to sit back and watch everyone else get jobs without throwing my name in the resume hat too. That same professor told us that getting jobs had a lot to do with luck and timing. He said it was great to be ambitious and it was great to have lots of experience, but if you’re in the right place at the right time (with a little bit of luck on your side), you’ll be all set. And if not, you’ll have to wait for it.
So for all you professors who falsely described post-college life to us… and to all you professors who ‘forgot’ to teach us what it’s really like out there… shame on you. You obviously went to college since you have to get a degree to teach, so you know what life is like when you graduate. It’s lonely. It’s confusing. It’s weird. And it’s not what we imagined. So to all those of you who didn’t prepare us for the mad world we now live in, we will forever burn you in our post-grad burn book.
Your Former Students