Life After College: The Harsh Reality
When I started this blog a little over eight months ago, I had insanely high expectations, none of which have become reality, but knowing myself, it is a surprise that I am even still writing. I admit now that I haven't written as much as I hoped to, or even half as much as I should. While I can easily find a million and one reasons for not updating this blog frequently, I choose to take the high road and admit that I am one lazy son of a bitch. My laziness has reached a level that is sickening and despicable, to say the least.
Anyhow, I recently finished college and suddenly, I have all this time on my hands, so I figured I might quite as well put it to some use. It is amazing how the entire four years of college flew by so fast. The other day I was thinking of the amazing experiences I had in college; well, most of them weren't so pretty now that i think of it. Anyway, that is a story for another day. I'm particularly not good with detours, so I will stick to the topic at hand.
A few months ago I was quite pumped up to sit for my finals and leave college, just like most of my classmates. Of course, everyone kept talking about what a buzzkill school life was. While I admit college life is not as pleasant as the movies make it out to be, life after college is no walk in the park either. The last one month has provided me with some real eye-opening insights about life in the real world.
When you join college everyone tells you how lucky you are. Earn your degree and the world is yours for the taking. It's all corny really; everyone makes it seem like college is some sort of Holy Grail. It all sounds good on paper but in practice, these assumptions are far from the truth.
Life after college is miserable; well, at least mine is. I am certain most people who went to college can attest to this. Sitting on your lazy jobless ass 24 hours a day, seven hours a week can be a drag, especially when you have no job prospects or no perception whatsoever of what you want to do in the next months. Then there's the pressure from the parents, always breathing down your neck asking when you are going to get a job, because, let's face it, they are tired of you always sitting on that couch you don't own, watching movies or playing video games, while eating stale sandwiches that your mother prepared two days ago and farting incessantly from all the staleness.
What I Learnt After Completing College
- Free time actually does more harm than good
Only a few months ago, I would have killed for some free time. Now that I completed college and have more time than I need, I realize free time does more harm than good. Getting up way past daylight and having an easy day is no fun.
For the first few weeks, I was excited about this magical opportunity to unwind and blow off some steam and for a while, I did, but that got old fast. It is only a matter of time before you start yearning for a challenge. On the up side, though, taking a break after college can actually turn out to be worth your while. In the last month, I have had time to evaluate my life and think deeply about my future. I have also had time to concentrate on my side projects and explore different possibilities and I have to say, it has been nothing short of rewarding. Perhaps this break is just what I needed.
- Don't Compare Yourself With Others
Occasionally, you may feel the urge to compare yourself with your peers. One word of advice: DON'T. While it is utterly tempting (and perfectly normal too) for you to want to see how you stack up against your friends and former classmates, such thoughts are better left unexplored, as they could possibly give way to depression and extreme feelings of insufficiency.
Some of your former classmates already have fancy jobs, or are doing great things and succeeding in life while you fall further and further behind. While you may sincerely be happy for them, you may wonder why you aren't doing quite as well in life. However, you should never let this get to you. Finishing college is only a start. Situations change; nothing is important. The key lies in not giving up and putting yourself out there until you find something that makes you happy.
- Communication fizzles out
This one is obvious; the relationships you built in college start to fizzle and communication begins to break slowly. After completing high school, I realized this all too well. It is not that you stop talking to your friends entirely, you just don't talk to them as often as you did, but it is all good. You understand that life got the better of your friends, because you are also absorbed with your own mess; knee-deep in your own problems. Eventually, you know you might lose touch altogether; ten, fifteen years later, but you're willing to stretch it out to see how far it goes.
- Money problems = all problems
Kanye West once tweeted, 'There's no freedom without economic freedom' and I couldn't agree more. There's nothing more pathetic than being a 20-something year-old who still lives with their parents and relies on them for everything. It helps if you have an alternative source of income while you still search for a job, so that you can help out with the bills and buy groceries every once in a while. Otherwise, all you get is major side-eye from your parents, who are tired of you and are wondering whether you'll move out soon.
You know you'll have to start paying your own bills soon, and that you need to get a job soon so you can start paying off the debts you collected with your student loans.
- Earning a university degree isn't such a big deal after all
While you may have heard about this while still in college or even high school, it all starts to sink in after you complete college. You become more skeptical by the day; questioning everything, wondering if earning that degree was really necessary. Your life seems hopeless in comparison to that one person who didn't attend college and is seemingly getting ahead in life. You ask yourself whether your degree is really going to help you and tell yourself if you could back in time, you would've opted for something different.
Attending College and Actually Graduating is Awesome
In the end, however, you come to terms with all the pressure and realize that attending college and actually graduating is a good thing. You are exposed to more challenges and get a chance to develop better life skills. You also gain a competitive edge over other people, and as I have come to learn, perhaps having a slight edge above everyone else is all one actually needs to survive in this jungle.
It is now time to put the books away and take out the suits and briefcases, walk into interview rooms and get turned down, and repeat the cycle until you finally land a boring 8-5 job that will drain the life after you and give you an early mid-life crisis at 30, diabetes or high blood pressure at 35 and a stroke at 50 because, well, that is what you went to school for. If you manage to get it right, you will earn your postgraduate degree and get promoted, earn a higher salary that still won't be enough and pray every morning that your life doesn't get more deplorable than it already is. If you are lucky, you'll get a chance to start a family of your own in a few years, and if you're even luckier, you won't end up with crackheads and retards for kids. After all, we are all damned from the start.