I have been out of college for three years this month. That’s right, in January 2011 I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Art History. Three years, and I wonder how different my perceptions of post-college life were when I was still in college.
When I was in college, I thought after I graduated I would find a full-time job, and I would be paid a somewhat decent amount in exchange. This job would be one where I could put my English degree to use somehow in day-to-day job functions or, dare I hoped, would involve writing for a newspaper or for a magazine, what I considered my ideal job back then.
Yeah, none of that happened.
I reflect back on my college years, and I always think about what they did not tell me in college. All the times I went to Career Services, all the advice and encouragement I received from different people…all of that, and they left out key pieces of the realities of post-college life. Like how as wonderful and as impressive as your scholastic and creative accomplishments are, they do not necessarily translate into skills employers are looking for in job candidates. That you will most likely (chances being in the mid to high 90% range) have to work at a job where you barely, if not ever, use that degree of yours (and if you think you are one of the few who do not fall into that category, I caution you to not be so confident). But I’m getting ahead of myself with that last sentence. Because what they do not tell you is about the waiting. The waiting to hear back about job applications, the waiting to hear back about your interviews, the waiting for jobs to open up whose descriptions sound like ones you could not only do, but whose employers might actually look at your resume and contact you for an interview.
What they also do not tell you is that in your group of friends you might be the one who feels like they do not have a steady anchor in their life. That you reach a point in your life where you look at your friends and realize your friends have reached points in their lives where they have solidity, a general sense of having lives they want to keep and maintain in their present states for the most part. Meanwhile, you are still striving to reach that place where you can say you have the life you want, or you might still be figuring out what the life you want entails.
What they don’t tell you in college is this: post-college life is something you need to experience for yourself to truly find out about.