This is post-grad

15 Oct

So I graduated from college about five months ago. And I miss it. A lot.

There’s this weird feeling after graduation, at least for those of us who aren’t in grad school. My whole life I was working towards something. “Work hard in class so you can be in Honors in middle school. Study hard so you can be in AP classes. Get good scores on your SATs and AP tests so you can get into college. Get a good GPA.” And now there’s no clear next step.

I’m in a different boat than apparently every person who’s ever written for Thought Catalog, who apparently believe that 20-somethings spend all their time living in NYC, binge drinking and being underemployed.

I have an awesome job, and a lot of potential for growth in the company. I realize that’s something that not a ton of recent grads are lucky enough to have and I feel super grateful for it.

But then. I live in North Dakota, a 13-hour drive from Gonzaga, 17 hours from my parents, and a $500 plane ticket from almost everyone I care about. It’s really, really hard to make friends in a place where it seems like everyone my age already has kids. And I don’t know when or how I’ll meet people to hang out with. And I haven’t seen my mom or my brothers since May.

Today, I started bawling when a car just like the one my mom used to drive pulled out in front of me. I called her, and I laid on my bed and cried because there are days when all you want is a hug from your mom. And I can’t have one until Christmas.

I guess there’s just a sense that we 20-somethings that all these trend pieces are written about are supposed to have it not-together in one specific way. We’re all, supposedly, bouncing from one entry-level job to another, regretting our humanities degrees, racking up credit card debt, hooking up with each other and spending most of our time either drunk or eating take-out because we don’t know how to feed ourselves.

That’s not me and that’s not most of the people I know. I buy groceries, and fruits and vegetables are part of those (although I’m also guilty of the occasional spoonful of peanut butter and chocolate chips). I live in a small oil boomtown two hours from the nearest Target, so no overspending here. And I have a job that gives me responsibilities and where I expect to work for the foreseeable future.

So I’ve checked all those imaginary boxes of having my life together. But 95% of my social activity is over Skype or FaceTime (thanks to those of you who have kept me sane). I cry at least once a week because I miss my friends and I miss my family. I’m scared that life won’t go where I want it to — what if I never make friends like that again? What if I never get married and have a family of my own? 

For the last four years, I’ve had a solid dozen close friends, people I could text whenever I needed to and meet up for a coffee. We worked on homework together, played Nintendo, cooked dinner, went for walks, hung out at Jack and Dan’s … we were a family. And now we’re scattered across the country, and I need to make a new life without all the comforts of school and that is really really hard.

So to all you other post-grads out there … you’re not alone. Even on the days when it really, really feels like it.

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