College is limbo. It’s a place between the warm, fuzzy world of our childhoods, where little responsibility and great privilege coincide with the naivete of how good we really have it, and the harsh “real world” that awaits us all. Into the frying pan and into the fire, it seems.
I remember thinking when I graduated high school that after high school, the fun and games were over. Obviously I was crazy, as college has thus far been an amazing experience, but now I find myself looking forward to another graduation with a sense of dread. Oh no. Now it’s really the real world.
When I think of the “real world,” I imagine long hours at work, little time with friends, and the dullness of the corporate American grind settling over me as I become bitter and sad because my parents no longer pay for things and I have to actually learn how use public transportation properly.
Overdramatic? Yes. But I say this to illustrate the point that thinking about life after college is really, truly scary. And sometimes it seems like life after college must suck.
“Wait, I don’t get to live with my best friends forever? I can’t eat at Chipotle every day for the rest of my life? My parents aren’t funding my Starbucks addition anymore? UGH.”
Often times, our examples of the real world are fraught with stressed out people. We see the stress our parents can be under, we see people we know in dead-end jobs, we see how life isn’t all glamorous, and we begin to wonder where the happiness is. Is anyone really happy being a grown-up?
YES. Which brings me to my point: FIND THOSE PEOPLE.
There is nothing that has been more refreshing to me at this point in my life than to see someone whose work is their passion, who is doing something they find meaningful and worthwhile every day. Meet someone like this. They will change your perspective on everything.
It’s especially poignant when you meet someone who’s in your field of study. This Friday, I attended a marketing conference for undergrads here, and I was absolutely blown away by the speakers. One speaker, who worked for Ralph Lauren, was so passionate about marketing and retail. She spoke about the company like it was her child, and glowed when telling the audience about the projects she managed for the company.
This speaker, along with the many others of the day, inspired me. I realized that if I share the same love for marketing that they do, and I pursue it, I too can be a happy grown-up.
Forget the grind. Forget the drudgery. Life after college isn’t all serious.
Find someone who makes growing up not suck.