In a word? Weird.
Feelings really vary person to person – some people are happy in their new roles, and others long for a campus and the ease (not including classes!) of college life. Rather, each individual’s balance of the many feelings vary. According to what I have witnessed, there are many factors, besides personality differences, that influence the balance to varying degrees (pun intended).
Some of these factors are size of school attended, location (i.e. rural, suburban, urban), level of involvement in campus activities, plans after graduation, and living arrangement after graduation. For example, the shift from living in a dorm or apartment with friends and being independent from parental control to returning to living at home with parents takes a toll on some more than others, but overall is jarring, can feel suffocating, and is a reversal that isn’t really supposed to take place. Not saying that moving back in with the folks is a bad thing (I did it, so it can’t be wrong! Right…), but in life we are meant to become more and more independent; at home it is easy to cast aside learned self-sufficiency and re-adopt a childlike role. The real conflict is that it is pretty much impossible to revert to that role and forget all the freedom and independence we were used to for so long. No, Mom, I don’t want to tell you where I’m going, I should just be able to leave!
My explanation for the feeling of just graduating college is to imagine going from years of routine and planning, always knowing what the next step was and how to get there, to having endless options. Because even though there were options about which college to go to/which student org to join/which part-time job to get, it was a limited pool. With our endless options, many of my friends had a full-time job lined up for after graduation or got one soon after, but more didn’t or pursued another route. That’s me! That’s me!
I’m very lucky to have been able to return home to my parents’ house, and I know not everyone has that privilege, so bear with me when I say this: I didn’t really want to have a job lined up for after graduation. Not only was I extremely busy my senior year (#LiveUpTo62), but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do and I was overwhelmed. While everyone was stressing out about employment, I applied to two full-time jobs for after graduation. That is the most half-hearted job search I’ve ever seen. I didn’t hear back from either but I wasn’t fazed, especially since I was, as previously mentioned, extremely busy (see previous parenthesis link).
My plan was to return to Massachusetts, this time not to my childhood home (I cleaned out my bedroom over spring break senior year… Woo sprang break!), but to my parents’ now-permanent home in Barnstable, which is on Cape Cod. In my head I was going to get a job at a restaurant on the cape, apply for jobs (part of me wanted Boston, but part of me wanted a yet-unexplored [by me] city), and hopefully get one by the Fall. Part of that happened: I got a job at a restaurant on Cape Cod – the restaurant I had hoped for, too! But OOH BOY did my plans change. Where am I now? Am I still on Cape Cod? Boston? Grad school? Abroad? Stay tuned for my next post to find out! (Or look on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Or even LinkedIn. But stay tuned for the story!)