The past couple of months have been a time of transition. Not only a time of relocation transition (I moved 30 minutes up the road), but also a time of mental transition. For the past 13 + years of my life all I have ever known is wake up, go to school, come home, study as much as one can, rinse and repeat. Now that I am in the abyss of what is known as the post grad world, this routine has suddenly rendered itself obsolete. What’s a boy to do? I don’t know. You tell me.
I remember the feelings I felt the first few months of college my freshmen year crystal clearly. The campus was intimidating, the classes were intimidating, the people were intimidating, even my less-than-2-months-I-can’t-deal-with-this roommate who I woke up one morning to find plastering his face with makeup was intimidating. I remember all the bad and feelings of inadequacy like it was yesterday. Waking up each morning, following my programmed routine and yet feeling like something was missing. Something was off. But what was it?
Once I met “The Family” – as my group of friends liked to call ourselves – all of those feelings of depression, anxiety, inadequacy, and being lost were thrown out of the 7th story window of my new dorm room and hastily replaced with rainbows, butterfly’s, and Build-A-Bear stuffed penguins. I guess human connection is what makes a person thrive.
Well, the dreaded feelings that were purged nearly 4 years ago have returned now that I’ve graduated college and entered into my freshmen year of “real life.” I have a new routine: wake up, go to my internship if it’s the appropriate day when I’m supposed to go, and then come home. It’s an incredibly simple schedule to master, but it’s missing the hidden factor that my old routine had crammed into the middle of rinse and repeat: friends.
I believe that the hardest transition from student to post grad is the loss of connection, unity, and family that college life contains. In college, you are surrounded by thousands and thousands of people your own age. You can pick and choose whom you want to befriend and whom you don’t want to befriend because you have the option to. Once moving to a new city and starting a new life, it’s easy to feel distant and sad because you are no longer in constant communication with your favorite people in the world. Now the type of connection you yearn to receive is either a simple chat at the water cooler, or living vicariously through the band of survivors on The Walking Dead. At least for me this is what I yearn for.
I still have the connections and love of my “old” friends, but in order to receive that, one of us has to make the 3o minute + time for traffic trek. And with the traffic in the city the way it is, it’s usually a $10 + drive round trip. Something I financially cannot do every single day. While I know that the limitation of my visiting with friends will be a good thing in the long run, this is the hardest transition for me. Finding a real job will come sooner or later, but the type of connection that I made with my friends in college will likely take a long time to – not replace, but – substitute.
So here is my question to all of you post grads out there on the internet scoping the Craigslist ads for job listings, what has been the hardest transition for you when it comes to moving out into the real world?