Post-Grad Life: Now What?

Post-Grad Life: Now What?

This post was originally posted in June 2018 and updated on July 8, 2020.

MSU graduation ceremony 2018
Michigan State University graduation ceremony, 2018

I watched a movie called Post-Grad after I graduated from college because it seemed fitting. As many of you know, I did not have immediate plans or a job lined up after graduation. I was experiencing burnout. This movie intrigued me because no one talks about life after college. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what could happen in a fictional setting.

Movie Summary (Spoiler Alert)

Post Grad began with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed main character, named Ryden, getting ready for her college graduation. She had her mind made up could not wait to hear back about her dream job at a top-tier publishing company. Ryden had planned to move to the city after she got the job with her boyfriend at the time. Instead, her competitive peer from college snagged her job, her relationship was on the rocks, and Ryden had to move back home to live with her family.

Within the first 20 minutes of this movie, I realized I had similar characteristics as Ryden.

  • We both are smart and have exceeded through high school and college.
  • Want to live in a big city, working at the job of our dreams.
  • Craved to move on in life since it has been easy to do so thus far.
  • We didn’t want to move back home.
  • We thrive off of our passion plans and are easily crushed when plans fall apart.

Ryden was crushed by reality began to experience post-grad depression. To get by, she had to get a job at her family-owned shop. As she lost patience and hope for the future she felt she deserved, she struggled with relationships with her friends and family, only making her situation harder.

My Post-Grad Experience

At this part of the movie, my heart sunk as I felt seen and heard. I had planned to take a break after I graduated in order to take care of myself and tend to my mental health before applying for “big girl” jobs. Once I felt recharged, I would find a job that would make me happy and allow me to move to a different city with more opportunities.

I did not want this feeling of failure and dread to linger into my professional career. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought this way was going to be easy. In reality, nothing ever goes as planned.

Where I am Now

Here I am now in New York after moving around Michigan three times, still looking for a full-time job but this time it’s during a pandemic, have worked jobs that honestly seemed fake with how terrible they were, and am still experiencing elements of post-grad depression on top of my year-round clinical depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Can you believe? I can’t. It is actually comical at this point.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. The U.S. has mostly been quarantined, employees have either lost their jobs or have been furloughed, and some businesses are struggling to survive. How am I supposed to start my career now?

Sometimes I feel a failure because I still haven’t found luck with getting the right job. The job application process is daunting, and I did not picture myself still without the ideal job two years after graduation. Not to mention the pain from rejection emails and watching people get job offers in amazing places. I thought it would be easier to start your career when obtaining a degree, but it is far from that. But, I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason.

As far as Ryden’s story goes, she ended up finding purpose while living at home. She rekindled with her boyfriend. Remember her job that she wanted so dearly? Turns out her arch-nemesis was nowhere near the kind of candidate they needed. The publishing company offered her the position and moved to the city with her boyfriend and support from family and friends.

college graduate, post-grad
Walking out of the Breslin Center, on my way to hug my family.

Conclusion

Do I even have a dream job anymore post-grad? Not sure. But, I am determined to find some purpose in life that makes me happy. I realize that I need to put less pressure on myself and stop comparing myself to others. I am manifesting that everything will fall into place.

In the meantime, I am not going to give up. I am still applying for jobs and freelancing. I will keep writing and exploring career opportunities outside the typical industries.

Until next time,
Michala

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