5 things nobody told me about post-grad life

postgrad

Adulting is no joke. It’s been just over a year since graduation and I’ve had time to reflect on some things I hadn’t been expecting or prepared for during this time of transition that I just finally feel I’m settling into nicely. Ranging from depressing to hilarious, here are the top five.

1) distance makes all of your friendships more difficult and loneliness is always hiding around the corner

I spent the entire summer after graduation living in Ocean City, MD with my best friend. Between my two jobs, trips home and friends visiting, I was busy all the time. And then I moved home to start a full-time job. I only have a few friends less than 2.5 hours away from me and I hardly see them. The transition from having most of my best friends no longer than 10 minutes away at all times to moving home is a continual struggle. I miss my friends so much and feel incredibly left out anytime something fun happens and I’m not there. Adding a long-distance relationship into this equation makes it even trickier. I have to actively try to not feel left out when I’m not invited to something that would not have made any sense to have been invited to in the first place. And learning how to just be – to enjoy having nothing to do has been the most difficult task since graduating. Oh and I work in an office by myself with nobody close to my age in the building, out in the country. I experienced more culture shock moving from a community full of students to a small town with limited activities and young people than I did living in Spain for 6 weeks.

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I had a lot of family come down for my graduation weekend and I left the day after. I didn’t have time or energy to go downtown one more time and honestly I felt so relieved. I had this plan to recuperate and basically never get drunk that again. I was way off with that one.

2) drinking is still the go-to activity when all else fails or really just in general

Now that I’ve pretty much tamed my wild college drinking habits this one has me conflicted. I actually enjoy drinking because I like that taste of a lot of alcohol. I LOVE wine. Beer is pretty great sometimes and I could go for a tequila, vodka or gin cocktail at any time. It’s also fun to pretend like nothing really did change and keep on drinking together as the common denominator we can forever hold. We have fun together and more fun when we drink.

The con to this little factoid is that I can barely tolerate hangovers anymore and the thought of drinking calories that are going to work against my diet and exercise to be in the shape and health that I want is painful.

So why drink? Why not find friends who don’t drink so much? Because I love my friends and cannot imagine my life without them. I assume one day we’ll all feel more like adults and have less time to drink together but I hope that the fun we have (when I’m keeping a handle on myself) will never stop.

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3) wearing leggings, yoga pants and norts are appropriate day wear

Now I am a real adult who has to change my clothes at the gym after work because it’s not okay to wear your gym clothes all day. And incase you didn’t know already, “norts” are short for Nike shorts. I enjoy presenting myself nicely and am truly not a lazy person. I actually care a lot about presentation and do my best to look the part of whatever I am doing. However, sometimes the only clothing I desire to place on my body is anything but pants. This winter I tried on an outfit that I would have worn at school in a heart-beat. A large sweater and leggings and boots. Boom, outfit accomplished. When I put these items on I looked at my reflection in the mirror and for the first time ever it was brought to my attention that the hemline of my sweater was just barely covering my crotch. If I had to lift my arms up, you could see it. And it felt inappropriate. As long as you’re not sporting a large and protruding nether region, leggings in college are perfect for the gym, downtown, class and even sleeping in, even if you can see the outline of things. But not anymore. My mother has been pointing this out to me for years and naturally I ignored her but this year, I noticed and it was a sad reality.

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4) hanging out with friends of the opposite sex when one or both of you have a significant other just got weird

All the sudden it started feeling weird to be out in public with one of my best guy friends without my boyfriend and or their girlfriend being present. Shockingly this is also something my mother told me would happen and I blatantly disregarded it. The nature of the relationship I have with my boyfriend is another complication. We started dating right before I left for college, dated for a little over two years and broke up. We met a lot of each others’ friends but we don’t have any mutual friends and trying to incorporate ourselves into our friend groups is pretty awkward for both of us. A whole new lense is added when looking at situations where you’re bringing the new person in to the group and you want everybody to get along just as if it were completely normal to have this other person there. And from our experience, this doesn’t happen. What is the solution? Besides lots of effort, patience and forgiveness with each other, couple friends! Double dating makes the situation so much more relaxed and it’s way easier to build a friendship couple to couple than bringing one person to meet like seven others.

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 5) full time jobs

When I got my big-girl job back in September I was absolutely thrilled. It put me one step closer to becoming an RD and I get to share my knowledge of health and nutrition to help families every day. I really do love my job. Plus the salary and benefits are great for my first job. I can pay all my bills, well only because I live at home.

BUT….

I can’t skip work because without trying to make my-self sound all important, unless I am too sick to be useful, I have to come in. There are people depending on me to be there and usually there is no one extra in our district to cover.

Being late is not okay. This was a great flaw to overcome, my tendency to be 2-3 mins late always. With my internship application deadline fast approaching (more details on this soon!) I have been extra careful to be on my absolute best behavior. The fear of God was placed in me when I left the house late for a meeting the other Friday because I was dealing with some important family stuff that held me up. I sped like crazy down the interstate, pulled into the parking lot, no spaces. I turn around and pull into the parking garage and am following a slow-poke. I finally get into a space and turn my car off. While reaching for my stuff I got a giant paper cut that bled and required me to take another moment to scream and curse in my car before getting out and running into the building. I was late 3 minutes late.

I can’t leave until my shift is up even if all my work is done and sometimes I feel like a prisoner.

I already ranted about this in a previous post but summer break is no longer a thing. This does make vacation extremely exciting and more fun than ever before but some days when the only logical action is to lay by a pool or on the beach all day, I’m imprisoned once more. Wah.

There are prices to pay for making a living. On the bright side, my job is probably reducing my chances of developing skin cancer.

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I genuinely love my life and the process of learning and growing every day no matter how difficult and painful it sometimes may be and no matter how many basic white girl ranting sessions I choose to have. It really wouldn’t hurt to throw these things into a course on what to expect out of life before graduating… but it would be a whole lot less entertaining and fulfilling to not have to go through all these struggles and figure it out on your own since, “life is a journey, not a guided tour.”