My graduation day was both monumental and not. It’s been over a year since then but I can still remember exactly what the moment felt like.
It was boring for the most part but that much was expected, especially when I was really just waiting to be free from the shackles of our country’s education system, which now that I look back on it, is funny because my initial plans for after-college life were to take my Master’s.
But that didn’t sail. Or at least, it hasn’t sailed.
After graduating, I started to look for jobs but only casually because I was using the time to get back to myself. College, while it had its moments, was pretty draining and I guess I just lost sight of who I was. So I tried to get back into things, get into what my life was like before college in the hopes of maybe reconnecting with the old me.
I wanted to have time to read what I wanted, watch what I wanted, do whatever I wanted to do. And I was granted all the time in the world. Until I realized I didn’t quite have that, and that there were things that needed to be done.
I silently watched as batchmates started getting jobs or going to med and law school. And while the internet is full of posts about going at your own pace, I couldn’t help but think I was lagging behind.
It didn’t help that I was in my head all the time.
I’d wake up and start my newly-planned routine of stretches and healthier breakfasts (which honestly only lasted a few days until I started waking up past noon), and because no one else was at home, I was by myself. Just me, myself, and I. And for someone who enjoys alone time, some of these moments weren’t as pleasant as I’d hoped. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things I could be doing with my life if I just had a clue what it was I wanted to do — and that was just it. It was then that I learned that I had no direction; I was just waiting for what I hoped would be the perfect opportunity to fall into my lap.
But I figured it was still too early into my after-college life for me to be worrying, and so I went back to living my day-to-day with a less stressed out mindset.
That didn’t last very long, either.
While I live with my family who has provided for me my whole life and weren’t going to cut me off just because I was jobless, I felt like I was obligated to at least be able to buy things for myself. I knew I couldn’t depend on them for everything. And yet, I couldn’t. Because I was #funemployed.
So I looked and looked. Imagine waking up every morning and the first thing you check on your phone isn’t a
message or a Twitter notification but whether or not there are new jobs up on LinkedIn for you to explore. That was me for several months.
So much for #FUNemployment.
It was pretty sad, I’m not gonna lie. There would be days where I just wished I could go back to school. After all those years of wishing to get out, I actually wanted to go back, and really, it was only because I couldn’t do anything with myself.
It was frustrating that I couldn’t find anything I’d be interested in doing or was qualified for. But how was I supposed to find something that I wasn’t even sure of? I didn’t know what I was looking for — I still kind of don’t — so how was I supposed to find anything in the first place?
I was floating, unsure of who I was, what I wanted to be, where I wanted to go. Basically, I was going through an existential crisis, which some of you might know well enough about.
At one point though, I learned, thanks to my very wise dad, that not everyone knows what they want to do with their lives immediately after college. Some people don’t have their lives figured out just like that and while it was a pretty disappointing reality, I was comforted by the fact that I wasn’t alone.
Yes, I have a job now but it took me months to get here and quite frankly, I don’t think I’ve found the answers to my questions from a few months ago.
And this is not to sound fake-deep and cliche but isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? Not exactly what your purpose is or what you’re meant to do but how you get there?
So if you’re like me, who didn’t know what to do with themselves after finally being free from all those years of tests and papers, please don’t stress yourself out. Getting out of school and trying to stick yourself in like a knife into the metaphorical cake that we know as the rest of your life is not going to be easy, but recognizing that is the first step.
I don’t want to give advice like I’m some expert on after-college crises but take it from me anyway: Make use of the “fun” in “funemployment”. While you’ve got to buckle down and seriously discern what to do now that you’re out of school, try not to be a downer on yourself. Let yourself explore and maybe you’ll even learn more about yourself than you thought you would.