The Real World is NOT As Fun As The TV Show: How To Solve Common Post-Grad Problems

Let me start off by saying that there are many things I love about being a college grad. I have my own apartment and it doesn’t have squirrels (yes, my college apartment had squirrels living in it). I get to live with my boyfriend. I feel like a real adult. I cook dinner when I want or order take out when I’m feeling lazy. I can go to bed at 10 pm and not feel lame because everyone else is going to the bar. I can go to the bar if I want and not feel weird, because I’m 23 and that’s normal. I make my own money and pay my own bills. Therefore, if I want to buy a pair of shoes… I buy a pair of shoes. I’m young enough to have good stuff ahead of me, but old enough to avoid making stupid mistakes (most of the time).

Despite all these great things, there is a definite “ugly side” of post-college life that I want to talk about. Luckily, I think I’ve figured out a solution to the post-college problems that have been bothering me. I want to share my thoughts in case you’re getting frustrated by these same situations. For example:

(via http://www.lyved.com/)

The downside: “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life!”: One of the things I find difficult about being a recent grad is the feeling that I must have everything figured out. I don’t enjoy feeling like I need to set a timeline for when I’m getting my next promotion, job, raise, apartment, etc. I don’t like trying to figure out when I want to get to a bigger city, and when I want I want to be married with kids. I want to work on it slowly and not have to have a pre-prepared answer for everyone who asks. Also…slight problem. I don’t TOTALLY know what I want my next job to be. I know what my dream job is, but getting there is a bit tricky. I feel like when you’re in high school or early college, it’s acceptable to have an ultimate goal but no real plan. When you’re a little older….not as cute.

The solution: You don’t have to know! Seriously! After countless conversations with my friends and my cousin (who is like my older sister) I’ve realized….all of this is normal! We may be adults, but we’re still very young. We don’t need to know when we’re moving or what we’re doing when we get there. Apply for any job that you think may help you grow as a person. Move when you feel ready. If you’re at one job but think you want to switch fields entirely, do it!  You can always switch back, move back home, go back to school, etc. There is no wrong answer. Sometimes it feels like you COULD choose poorly, and sometimes it feels like everyone else has this great plan. You won’t and they don’t. Just trust yourself and be willing to try everything.

The downside: Parental pressure. My parents have never been the type of people to say, “You MUST go to law school” or “You MUST be a doctor.” I’m very lucky about that.

(via www.sparknotes.com)

They are awesome and wonderful. However since my parents and I are in the same field, there’s an inherent pressure to follow their advice. They’re trying to be helpful, but sometimes it makes me feel like I’m being pushed to think/feel/do things a certain way. I know a lot of my friends aren’t in the same fields as their parents, yet they still feel parental pressure for various reasons. I think it’s only natural for parents to put pressure on their kids, even if they don’t mean to. They want us to do well and be happy. But, as the kid, it can be frustrating when we’re trying to come into our own and figure things out for ourselves.

The solution: Stand your ground and find an ally. Realize that your parents are probably just trying to help you. Try writing them a letter explaining your feelings. Sometimes it’s easier than having a face-to-face conversation, because it’s in writing and they can’t interrupt you. Don’t lose sight of YOUR goals for yourself, no matter what your parents’ goals for you might be. You need to have a strong inner voice that says that you can do whatever it is you want to accomplish, no matter how quirky/impossible/random it may seem to other people. Also, find someone to lend you support and offer positive reinforcement when you need it.

 

The downside: Closing yourself off to other possibilities. Along the same lines of this parental pressure idea is the problem of closing yourself off to new things. I’ve always just assumed I was going to work in radio or TV. I’d been talking about this with my parents for so long that they just assumed it too. We fed off of each other, and because of this I closed myself off to other ideas. I wish that I had allowed myself more room to explore other interests and career options, yet still allowed myself to explore the radio and TV industries. I don’t have to narrow it down or exclude any industry so early on in my career.

You gotta start somewhere! (via http://www.lyved.com/)

 

The solution: It’s not too late. A few months ago, I started this blog and began writing for other sites. I discovered I loved writing. Even though it’s not my full-time job, it’s something I love to do. My advice would be to try out different hobbies. Now is the time. It may seem like you’re old and it’s too late, but it’s not. You may discover something you’re really passionate about, and that’s a great feeling. It may also lead you down a new career path.

The downside: No core group of friends like in high school/college. I’m in the same city I grew up in and went to school in, and yet it doesn’t feel like the same place at all. Many of my friends have moved away, so it almost feels as if I’m in a strange place.

The solution: You can still meet people. I used to get upset about not having a core group of friends around like I did in high school and college. Now I’ve gotten used to different friendship dynamics. I have fewer friends around on a daily basis, yet I develop those friendships more closely. I also spend a lot of time Skyping/emailing with friends who are in other cities. It feels like we’re still involved in each other’s lives, even though we’re in different parts of the country.

(via blog.timesunion.com)

The friend dynamic is different from how it was in college, but it’s still great. I’m also working on meeting new people through friends I already have in my city. For example, I have my friend introduce me to her friends so I can expand my circle.

 

What do you guys love most about being a college grad? What are you struggling with? How do you deal? Leave a comment or e-mail me: lauren@lifewithlauren.com

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