Why I Didn’t Miss College After Graduation

College was the best four years of my life, hands down. I hated high school and turned it all around in college.

But four years was really all I needed.

In some ways, college felt short. As I put on my graduation cap, it felt like I had just moved into a dorm I hated with a failing relationship nipping at my heels. As I walked to the ceremony with my friends, it felt like I had just been trying to crack open my shell and form those relationships I had heard everyone talking about. As I grabbed my diploma, it felt like I had just been getting lost on my way to class yesterday.

In other ways, college felt long. Because I met a lot of people that were great, but also a lot of people that were awful. I had a great education, but also some very useless classes at very early times. I had learned a lot about myself, but I had learned it the hard way.

In four years, I explored every aspect of myself. I did everything I needed to do to find out who I truly am. It took a lot of time, it took a lot of heart break, a lot of tears and fights. It included a lot of drama that was unnecessary and a lot of long late night talks that were.

When I graduated college, I was happy. I wasn’t sad to leave behind the university that taught me so much. Or the sorority that raised me. Or the professors that guided me.

Of course I would miss living with my best friends when I moved in with my parents. And I would definitely miss sleeping in or even sleeping all day without a care in the world. I would miss having less responsibilities and the ability to have fun all the time – but it’s more nostalgia than it is sadness. It was a good time, but now it’s over. Now it’s time to have different good times.

I dove head first into postgrad life and I couldn’t be happier. I shed my college self skin and found a version of myself that makes me truly happy. I still learn a lot, I still have great friends, and I still sleep in on the weekends. I appreciate everything college gave me, but I don’t miss it at all. You can’t if you look at your new life with positivity, if you give the postgrad life a chance and learn to live it up in a different way. It’s a whole new world waiting for you to explore it.

hc
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sjungling/

A Letter To My College Self

Hey you!

You did it! And I am so unbelievably proud of you. I know high school sucked and you’ve been looking forward to college for the past four years. I also know you currently feel held back, scared, and unsure.

It’s okay that you made your school choice based off of proximity. You may not have made that decision fully for yourself, but there were parts of you that thought it was for the better. Never stop listening to those parts of yourself. They’re always right – your thoughts and feelings about yourself will always be more right than anyone else’s.

It’s not going to be super easy to make friends here either, but just be yourself. College is way more real than high school ever was. If someone doesn’t like you, then you shouldn’t work to change yourself to fit that person. You get rid of them and you move on.

And you’ll make a lot of friends, this is a lot bigger than that small town you grew up in. You can have a bunch of different friend groups and they’re all very understanding. If they’re not understanding, they’re not the right kind of friends.

But the friends you make here are probably more important than that general education art lecture and the boy you met at a basement party. You’ll learn that quickly.

It may seem silly to take so many unrelated classes. But some of these professors will majorly impact your life. You’ll probably know the moment you meet them that they’re different, different like you. And they want to help you as long as you want to be helped. These professors will mold and shape your career. Like your friends, you’ll never stop being thankful for them.

Don’t be afraid to mess up because you are going to mess up. No one will judge you for it because chances are, they know someone or they have personally messed up way worse than you have. And those mess ups are a way to get to know yourself better. The mistake make outs, black out hang overs, missed classes, verbal arguments, failed assignments, and that overall sucky feeling will teach you lessons you would never learn if you didn’t take a risk.

Take them. College does go by fast, I’ll admit that there are certain years I wish I could repeat over and over for the rest of my life. But then those moments wouldn’t be so special.

If you do it right, four years is all you’ll need to be able to turn around with that stupid square cardboard on your head and wave goodbye to your home for the last four years with a diploma in your hand.

You’re ready. You screwed up, hit rock bottom, flew sky high, and succeeded in college. Imagine what you can do in the real world.

Love,

Me

hc
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceansoflilim/

Moving Won’t Solve Your Problems

Ever since high school I would talk about how I was going to get out of here. It started with wanting to go to Canada, to wanting to go to college in Ireland, to getting accepted to all the schools I applied for in North Carolina.

I ultimately stayed in New Jersey because of my boyfriend at the time. And although that relationship didn’t work out, it was the best decision I could have made. I was close to my family and made amazing friends.

But once I got around to graduating college, I swore I wasn’t going to move home. I was looking at jobs in Arkansas and Pennsylvania – while applying to safety jobs in New Jersey. But I ended up getting a job in New Jersey, a mere 30 minutes from my hometown. I moved home and I don’t regret it. I still see my friends a decent amount, I save a lot of money, and I’ve been learning a lot about myself.

A lot of people want to get out of town just to run away from their problems. No friends? I’ll make better ones in a different state. Bad job? I’ll find a better one somewhere else. Bored and lazy? My life is clearly waiting for me somewhere else.

But that’s not true. If you have problems weighing down on you and choose to solve those problems by moving – it probably won’t work. It’s one thing to be moving for better opportunities and a change of scenery, but anything that’s causing a chip on your shoulder will only deepen with distance.

If you’re planning on moving you need to tie up your loose ends. Say see ya later to your good friends and a solid goodbye to the people in your life who aren’t contributing anything. Don’t say anything to the people who are bringing you down, just leave them. And don’t blame where you’re living for your bad job and boring life. You’re choosing not to make the best of where you are and no matter where you are that will always be the case.

hc
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wnaprod/

How Postgrads Feel When Everyone Goes Back To School

For a very small part of this summer, I thought graduating was the best thing that happened to me. I was very wrong.

College, without a doubt, was the best four years of my life.  I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the school I chose. I left with a degree that I felt I could excel in, friends that I know will stick with me forever, and experiences that sucked enough to make me a better person.

I didn’t think I would miss it. I thought I lived it up and wouldn’t have any regrets. I was getting tired of excessive drinking and expendable people by the time I put on my cap and gown. I was ready to settle down, have my people by my side, and grow up to be something amazing.

But now I’m watching all of my younger friends go back to school and I even miss the things I hated. I miss trying to move all of my stuff up flights of stairs. I miss living with my best friends and going out our first night back together. I miss being able to walk down the street to the bar with all of my friends to run into people I don’t even necessarily like. I miss my on campus job even though I despised waking up early. I’m never going to wake up, grab my books, and walk 15 minutes to the building all of my classes had been located for at least two years.

I did the same routine summer after summer. Get a job, hang out with friends, quit job, and go back to school for the time of my life. I didn’t really realize that that routine had ended.  There is no going back to school, no mini break from reality where everything is on your shoulders but somehow you can handle it.

I never wanted to be one of those people that graduated and then constantly yearned to go back to college. But if you really enjoyed your four years, I don’t think that’s a feeling you can shake right away. Especially if your younger friends are doing all the things you wish you could do all over again. We all grow up eventually – but I’m going to hold onto my college past as I enter my grown up future.

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Does Moving Home Mean Moving Backwards?

High school was rough for me.  I rebelled against almost everything my parents wanted.  I didn’t get the grades they liked, didn’t join any clubs or sports, had the wrong friends, and did not one thing right.  I resented being controlled and watched over all the time – it ate away at me and made me a very bitter human.

The freedom of college was unbelievably sweet to me.  I learned things about myself that I feel were suppressed when I was stuck living under the law of my parents. I grew into an adult that could take care of herself. I got good grades, all on my own.  I joined so many clubs and took so many initiatives to make amazing friends.  I became better acquainted with my family.  I overall knew who I was and liked that person.

Then I graduated and then I moved back home. At first, I didn’t think anything would be that different from being at school.  I had become sort of a grandma towards the end of my senior year so I wasn’t going to miss drinking four days a week minimum.  I also wasn’t going to miss spending so much money on food and unnecessary things.

When I first got home, my normal life continued.  I spent the weekends with my friends and spent my days unpacking and running errands.  But that all slowed down and since I don’t have any friends from high school – I got bored.

And when I got bored I got nagged about getting all of my unpacking done, or about why I didn’t clean up the kitchen, or about when I was going to get a job. All things I would’ve done at my own stress-free pace at school, but impossible at home.  Then I got sick and the difference between being sick at home and at school blew my mind. I’ve gone to the doctor’s at least 4 times, whereas at school I was lucky if I made it to the Minute Clinic at all. My mom cooked all my meals, washed all my clothes, and doted on me as I wallowed on the couch for days at a time.  At school – if I was awake long enough I would text my friends to get me a gatorade and still make it to the bar that night even when running a fever.

My dog is the only one who hangs out with me.  My parents annoy me with every word they say to me.  I’m alone a lot, but can’t seem to get enough alone time. I resent being controlled and watched over all the time – it’s eating away at me and making me a very bitter human, once again.  Will all the progress I’ve gained in college slowly disappear with each month I’m living at my parent’s house?

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Succeeding In Today’s Schools

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hackny/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hackny/

I’ve resisted school ever since I was young. Waking up early only to sit at a desk for hours a day just didn’t make sense to me. I never put in my full effort. Not in middle school, not in high school, and not in college.  I paid attention as little as I needed to to pass the class.  I didn’t fail classes, I didn’t really even get C’s. But I never learned, either.

Everything in the school system is so dependent on grades and test scores rather than actually measuring how much a student is learning.

I don’t understand math, I never have and probably never will at this point.  Yet, I passed all of my classes because I bullshitted enough to get by for the quiz that week or haggled the answer out of my teacher by showing how much I was struggling.  Then we would start a new topic and it just seemed to me that I never had to learn what we were learning before anyway.  It was done and over with – I would never use it again.

The people who succeed, despite the school system failing them, are those who are completely motivated by learning.  They do it on their own time and they love it.  They don’t measure all of their knowledge based off what grades they’re getting in school or what their SAT score was.

I took plenty of classes in college that were appealing to me. I took plenty of classes in college that were poorly taught.  I can only name a few classes where I learned things that benefited my future and myself. The rest, I did the bare minimum and still got an A.  Professors don’t want to fail you, especially for a general education course.  How are we supposed to be interested in every prerequisite class thrown our way? How does anyone learn that way?  In the end, it didn’t really matter how much I actually knew to get my degree.  I got it because I passed my classes and kept my GPA up.

And you won’t get a job without a degree.  You won’t get a job without two years of sociology, psychology, literature, and ethics classes.  You won’t get a job if you don’t fake it till you make it enough in those classes to have a high GPA.

I can’t blame the people who aren’t consistently curious like I am, but the school system is completely failing these people because they are only motivated off of numbers that don’t even measure learning.  It’s not their fault, it’s the fault of those who are telling them that’s all you need to be successful in life – a 95 on a test, a 2300 on the SATs or whatever the SAT’s are scoring as high these days, a 4.0 GPA.

(If I end up being successful) I attribute it all to googling every question that popped into my head and reading articles until I was satisfied.  I attribute it to the countless books I’ve read since I was a kid, for fun and not because I was being forced to.  I attribute it to my 5th grade teacher who got me into creative writing, my 7th grade English teacher who became family, my high school history teachers who loved the world’s past, my New Media professors in college, and the few other random professors who just had a passion for what they were teaching.  The teachers who wanted to teach for our benefit and not their own.

Fixing Your Problems With A Relationship

In middle school, having a boyfriend was the only thing that was important. You’re in your awkward phase and just need someone to tell you you’re pretty.  You’re still forming friendships and you need someone who is a constant. Your favorite emo songs sing about heartbreak and falling in love and you want to be able to relate.  The books you read end with happiness and holding hands and you want to hold hands too. The reality shows on television show so much drama, but love always prevails and you want to prevail, too.

We never grow out of that middle school self.

We still need to be told we’re pretty, friends still come and go, we sing the songs at pregames, read the books on casual evenings, and watch the reality tv on hungover afternoons.

We saw it as a problem solver – being in a relationship guarantees that someone will be there for you at all times no matter what.  It’s hard to rely on anyone else, that’s what having a boyfriend or girlfriend is for.

As more problems occur in your adult life, you become more and more convinced that not having anyone to love you is the number one problem.  Failing your classes because you have no one to study with.  Not getting a job because you have no one to push you. Getting too drunk because you had no one to stay in with.

It all connects to not having a person.

If you think a relationship will fix your problems, you’re very off base.  Sure, it will soften some of the blows that life throws at you, but a relationship is just a temporary fix.

Find friends that will stay by your side. Mend relations with your family so you can always fall back on them. Most importantly, be able to rely on yourself. Push yourself and monitor yourself – because despite what you may think, no one will ever know you as well as you know yourself.  Be your own driving force.

Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gemmabou/
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gemmabou/