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Learning to Accept — and Love — My Post-College Life

Creator:
Published:
May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024
Wondering what to do after college graduation? Read this article to see why you don't need to have it all figured out yet.

Beaming with pride and excitement, you turn to your left and right to share a grateful smile with the friends who have carried you through the last four years. You can’t help but let out a carefree laugh as you toss your grad cap up in the air, watching it soar to unthinkable heights…

…until it comes crashing down, becoming well-acquainted with the bridge of your nose. Oh yeah, and poking you in the eye.

Post-grad life can feel just like a four-corned cap to the face: shocking, a little abrasive, and sometimes unpleasant.

I thought I was really prepared to step into my identity as a non-student. I was fortunate enough to begin my *real* job at the start of my second semester of senior year. I balanced the part-time work with part-time classes, and whenever work got tough, I could rely on the on-campus people and places I had grown to love over the past three and a half years.

I love my job, and in those four months of school and work, I adjusted to it well. So much so that following graduation, nothing felt different. I got up at the same time, drove to work on the same route, and left in time for lunch. The only difference was that when I came home, I traded afternoon classes for another part-time gig.

In those first few weeks, I felt completely unchanged. Frankly, I appreciated the monotony. I was in the same place, with a lot of the same people, working the same job I had worked during school. With frequent trips to see family and friends, I didn’t have time to create an existential crisis about my greater purpose in life. 

Then, something changed. Remember the grad cap I mentioned earlier? It came crashing down again. And this time, it landed with a resounding thud.

“What was I still doing in my college town? Why did I feel so old? Why did I trust any of my own decisions?”

These thoughts infiltrated my brain and left me curled up in a ball of worry on my couch of college-apartment-past.

I moped around for a while until a memory interrupted my spell of self-pity. When I first started my job, I woke up every morning and thanked God for the opportunity to do what I loved.

Somewhere between comparison and self-loathing, I had forgotten how blessed I was to be in my position. I was employed, appreciated, and loved, all in a familiar place. Once I started thanking God for the beauty of my situation, my feelings of inadequacy subsided.

No, I’m not a law student in London or a power-suit-wearing businesswoman in NYC. And that’s okay. Once I started realizing that my path didn’t need to mirror the journeys of my friends and classmates, I felt free to listen to their stories. Heck, I even became a better friend! I could appreciate their experiences without feeling a sense of longing or regret.

The insecurities I had about my job, earnings, and level of success came from no one else but me. Sure, I’m still figuring out what I’m doing, but I’m also actively working towards my goals, trusting in God, and accepting what I don’t know.

That grad cap is now firmly in my hands, ready to be stored away as I take my next steps into the future.

Creators:
Abby Urban
Published:
May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024
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