Tag Archives: graduation

On reacting, deciding, and trying to sort out my future

5 Mar

From April 2013 to September 2014, just about every choice I made was a reaction. I wasn’t getting interviews for the 50-some jobs I applied to, then I was offered a summer internship in a field I wasn’t particularly interested in located in an oil boomtown. I took it, sight-unseen. By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t gotten any of the writing jobs I was applying for, so they offered me employment and I took it. Housing was really expensive there, so when a family with a 3-year-old offered to let me rent a room in their house, I took it and moved in. Four days later, my friend decided to come join me, so I found an apartment and signed a month-to-month lease within 36 hours. Then, within four days we found a cheaper two bedroom and signed a lease on that starting the next month. Continue reading

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Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life

18 Jan

I just read a very cool article on LinkedIn written by a guy who has found himself in increasingly more interesting jobs due to his willingness to show up and work hard.

In it, he discusses the fact that throughout childhood, and generally all the way through college, our life paths are set out for us. There are goals and deadlines and if we just work hard we will succeed. Sure, some people step off this path and lead fascinating lives, but most of us chug straight through our educational years toward what looks a lot like a finish line.

And then, of course, we discover it’s not a finish line at all. This can feel utterly terrifying, because suddenly there is no path. There is no one telling you how to succeed (other than, perhaps, the vague “get a job”) and there’s no easy way to measure how well we’re doing and if we’ll achieve what we want. It’s really scary, even though it should be exciting.

Imagine, though, if alongside your diploma, you had been handed a certificate that stated, in the same big, fancy writing:

Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life. Continue reading

Rivers and Roads

22 Dec

My friend Autumn posted yesterday about a song that really describes her life right now, as she just moved to NYC. My taste in music tends to consist of 90% Taylor Swift, 10% everything else, which can result in music-related discussions that are really boring for everyone.

However, right after graduation, one of my good friends and I went on a road trip through National Parks of the west (Glacier, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and also just generally enjoying the emptiness of Montana/Wyoming/Colorado). We spent our days doing basically nothing, and it served essentially as a transition time between college and our new real lives – her in Kentucky, me in North Dakota.

We listened to the few CDs we had multiple times, and the one song that always reminds me of that trip is Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart. Continue reading

Six months!

13 Nov

Well. I graduated from college six months ago today. I walked across that stage (I was so nervous, I actually don’t remember it. I had to go first!) and then I sat around for a few hours and then I went to dinner and spent the evening hanging out with my best friends in the room where most of my freshman-year memories were made, and then, that next morning … I left.

And now I’m here.

Weird how that works. 

In the last six months, I’ve been to three states I hadn’t before (Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota) and moved somewhere sight-unseen. I’ve gotten a full-time job (and a raise (!!!)). I’ve moved a 13-hour drive from anyone and everyone I care about. I bought a car. I moved into a grown-up apartment. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve challenged myself.

My roommate and I were talking today (because we are both extremely self-reflective people). Here, I’m not depressed, per se, but it hurts. A good hurt, because I feel like I’m growing as a human being, becoming more self-reliant, learning how to be an adult and how to be alone. But also hurting. It’s like, “thanks for all this personal growth but can I be DONE NOW???”

Anyways. I guess it’s good to remember it’s only been six months. And so much has happened and so much will in the next six months it’s absolutely ridiculous – maybe I won’t even be living here six months from now (I probably will). 

So, I’m six months into adulthood. So far it’s hard and lonely and scary. But it’s also cool. To know that there is no next step — no diploma to be obtained, no degree to seek out. The next step is up to me.

It’s just the fact that making your own path means you have to trudge through a lot of shit. So wish me luck.

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.

The Beginning of the End

2 Sep

It’s the first real weekend of my senior year of college and I already feel like I’m in countdown mode. Continue reading

Closer Every Day

20 Aug

The Future, that is.

Have you noticed I write about it (and it definitely deserves Proper Noun Status) all the time? That’s because I have this terrifying thing coming up called Senior Year. There are a lot of proper nouns in my life right now, because everything is Big and Scary. Continue reading