A few days ago, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a link to TotalFratMove. Facebook or someone I knew had put up a link to this article by their editor. To sum it up, the editor had gotten, shall we say, a negative response to posting about how post graduate life was awesome, trying to console someone who was saddened by that chapter of their life ending. He explained that postgrad life means more money (which no one ever has in college), the freedom to do what you want (and he meant that in a very literal sense), and the chance to grow up. As a recent graduate, I understand the depression and angst associated with graduating. I know the feeling of loss you get when you finally load all of your stuff in your truck and drive back home or off to your new life. But, and this is a pretty major but, I completely get what the editor is saying. When I left my Alma matter (University of Arizona, Bear Down!), I accepted a job in London working for a Member of Parliament. It was an extremely unique position, something no one else was doing or even could do. And it is because of that, because I have done what both the editor and the person he was responding to talk about, that I disagree with our friend, the editor. That’s not to say that I think postgraduate life is terrible and nothing will ever come close to your time at university. There are just some key difference between the real world and college that will, at some level at least, make you look at your college life with rose tinted spectacles.
When you arrive at college, you don’t have a ton of money. You’re in a new city, surrounded by people you don’t know, taking classes that now have a real bearing on your life. Everything happens very quickly. Soon, you’re buried underneath homework and social obligations and trying to get some sleep (harder than it sounds). But, even with all of this going on, even with all of these expectations, slowly you carve out a group of friends. And I mean friends. Before this, friends were people you had home room with or who lived in your neighborhood. No, I mean friends who chose to be in the classes you’re in, who have similar interests, maybe even hopes and dreams. As you get older, if you share majors, you plan your classes together. It gets to a point where, in your last few semesters, you’re seeing the same people in every class. And you love it. These are the people who will sit through your Monday morning (8 A.M. because you hate yourself) econ class and take amazing notes that will help get you through the midterm having spent the last night with you drinking at each other’s homes and then at the bars. These are the same people who will sit (stand, who the hell sits) in the student section at game time being as loud as or louder than you. And these are the same people who you have to say goodbye to when you leave. Not because you want to. Because you have to. Your friends are off to graduate school, to professional jobs, to the other side of the world in some cases. And you’re happy for them. They’re going to achieve their hopes and dreams. But, in the back of your head, you feel it. This twinge of sadness. You realize that there is no more going out on Thursdays to college bars. There’s no more pregaming at 8 for the football game at noon. No more skipping class because you’re too hung-over. (I did a lot of drinking in college)
You are an adult now.
And that’s a scary thing to say. Think about it. When you got into college, you were an “adult”. But not really. You came home in the summer to parent’s who fed you and put a roof over your head. When you ran out of money because you were at aforementioned bars too much, someone was there to help you. But, that isn’t the case anymore. You get your first job and the world expects you to just stop being a kid.
Well, what if I’m not ready to do that? What if I like being a kid…? That’s what this is all about, not so secretly. It’s not that anyone is going to miss Rolling Rock induced hangovers, cramming for finals. You miss being a kid. You miss the freedom of knowing that no matter what happens, no matter what stupid stuff you do, someone (and by someone I mean your parents) has your back. There isn’t any more freedom than that.
So, yeah, post graduate life is great. You get to make all the big decisions and hey, who ever said no to a little extra money in your wallet? It’s cool to have the freedom that money provides, to say I’m going to Vegas and going to blow it all at the craps table. But, and just hear me out, go and do it. Blow your entire paycheck in Vegas. That’s right….none of you would do it. I don’t blame you at all. Wouldn’t cross my mind either. I like having an apartment and something tells me not paying rent might change that.
You see, it’s not about the money or the freedom, that feeling you have. It’s about growing up. You’re finally, truly, and completely becoming an adult. No more mom and dad looking after you, no more misbehaving and its ok because you’re a kid. If you go out, get drunk with friends, come 9 the next day, your butt best be at work. You can’t ditch work like class, not for long anyways.
So, take heart friends. Yeah, growing up sucks and no one wants to. But, those same friends are going through this, just like you. All of you, each and every one, will make it. And you’ll still have as much fun, if not more, when you see each other. You’ll still get too drunk and do crazy things. You’ll still be loud when you visit your university at homecoming. (If you’re around me, there isn’t anyone louder, now or then) And the new memories you make will be just as good as the old one. Just with better beer…