I came across this post the other day, about life after college, and the upheaval that goes with the territory. I had plans to list this in the Friday links, but it brought up enough for me that I felt like it deserved its’ own post. It reminded me of the way I felt after college:
Now what? What’s next?
College (or university as it’s called in other areas of the world) is something that’s often shoved down our throats from day one, lorded over us at nearly every turn starting in middle school as the be-all, end-all of everything that ever was in life if you didn’t wanna end up working in certain food service industry places.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with working in the food service industry. Far from it, to be exact. The way I figure it, it’s something, and as long as you’re earning the money honestly, I don’t see how or why it should be a problem.
No judgment from me.
But back to the way people touted college or university as the be-all, end-all or else. That may not have been what the people who pushed it at us meant, but that was my takeaway.
College wasn’t on my radar for the majority of my high school years. I was too busy dealing with the here and now to devote any time to obsessing over college. Besides, my grades back then were crap, so even if college was on my radar, it probably would’ve limited my options anyway.
My plan ultimately turned out to be community college, then a four-year institution. After a series of incidents and life happening, college took longer for me than it did for a lot of my classmates. Or should I say, the classmates I would’ve graduated with if my circumstances were different.
Eventually I made it through, and in those last few years, my fears about life after college took their foothold and ran wild. It kept me up at night more times than I’d like to admit.
Looking back, it was the structure and the security that college ultimately afforded me. I spent so much time living in permanent panic mode over the future that it became my personal boogeyman.
Everyone else I had classes with seemed to have it all figured out. They knew exactly where they were going after college, and when they were gonna be there.
So did my cousins, who were in college around the same time as me. They were out there killing it with their endless accomplishments, and I wished I could be like that.
I was too busy with the here and now to spend any of my energy on something else. I had come out of a health scare that I wouldn’t wish on anyone to really be present in college.
I had already planned on not going to the graduation ceremony, since it was so damn early, and my sleep schedule was already jacked up due to other things going on. Due to a family member’s health crisis, I would’ve ended up missing it anyway.
After college, I went nuts applying for jobs while I was also doing a home-based sales thing. The stuff basically sold itself, which was in my favor.
Zero callbacks. Whenever I did talk to, I’d get that hackneyed “apply and we’ll see,” song and dance. If not, then it was nothing but ice-cold radio silence. It wasn’t fair!
During this time, I was also looking for a community to join up with. I wanted to feel like I was a part of things, and in hindsight, I was ultimately looking for a fan club who liked me more than I liked myself.
After things went sideways in my attempts at finding a community, I let the pendulum swing toward inactivity while I processed what happened and moved forward. I won’t get into the specifics of what happened, but I may do a post about toxic or unhealthy communities at a later time. Should I do that? Lemme know.
For years, I felt like there was something wrong with me after college, even though I threw myself into paying down my student loans in spite of my circumstances. I wasn’t happy with where I was at in the slightest. I was at a morbidly obese BMI, tried to lose weight and failed each time.
I had no idea what was going on, but identity crisis feels like it fits as the label to put to it. After all, I was dealing with a switch from over 20 years of schooling, counting elementary, middle, and high school, along with college, to no structure whatsoever. College ultimately provided a sense of security and a sense of direction, and something to do.
After college, that’s no longer the case. Nobody to tell me where we’re going to or anything like that.
The ball was in my court, and after college, the ball’s in your court too. But how do we cope with the post-college identity crisis?
Like the post in the link says, an identity crisis appears to be a normal part of life toward the end of college and in the time after graduation. It doesn’t seem like too many people talk about it, but college seems to be a time totally conducive to an identity crisis. It’s where you get to try out different things, different beliefs and worldviews, keep what works for you, and leave the rest behind.
After-college identity crises will look different, so if this is something you’re going through, remember that this will pass, and you’ll come into your own in a life after schooling.
Over to you, readers. What did your after-college life look like in the months or years that followed? Got any words of wisdom to share? Drop it like it’s hot, and let’s talk.