A new twitter handle has found a spot in my heart: @PostGradProblems. Although I can admit that a few of their tweets may not be relatable, the whole premise of the account resonates with me. It is blunt, nostalgic, and still possesses a sort of “woe is me” attitude over seemingly minute aspects of life. In comparison to things that most people in other generations would consider detrimental, many postgraduate concerns aren’t truly that pressing (beyond finding employment and confirming that you have enough funds to support yourself and pay your bills, which, of course, are vital worries) many of my complaints are, in fact, fairly silly.
If my biggest problem is that there isn’t enough coffee and Diet Coke in the world to make me feel like a functioning person on some days, that I can easily pass out at nine p.m.— even in the middle of a presidential debate, an intense Bulls game, or even Homeland (just kidding, I could never actually bring myself to miss even a millisecond of Homeland)— or that I find myself missing the most random and absurd things about college on a regular basis, does that really qualify as a legitimate reason to whine?
In some ways, of course it doesn’t. However, it is completely understandable to allow both small and large transitions in your life affect you, even if it ultimately leads to stupid complaints.
To backtrack a bit, graduating GW seemed different to me than graduating from most other schools. I wasn’t saying bye to football games and hanging out in the student union and although graduating meant saying bye to some of my best friends, the structure of coursework and extracurricular activities, and Washington DC, I literally told everyone that it wasn’t going to be that big deal. It was barely a transition. I lied.
See, many GW students (myself included at times) are a bit overly confident about the preparedness that school provides us for the real world. In my mind, sometimes it is rightfully so. Interning in the city for three years, living in your own apartment in the middle of DC, and being on your own in an urban setting, 100% prepares you for many aspects of being a young professional. Of course, some of my former classmates may feel totally prepared and as if they “beat the system” and did not have any post graduate meltdowns, but I can’t say the same. Still, there are some things about post graduate life that no amount of coursework or series of impressive internships can really prepare you for:
1. What it is like to live at home after college: This isn’t something everyone experiences, but for those of us who do, it is quite the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my family, but there is something to be said about living on your own in your own space. There is also something about living in your childhood bedroom that makes you feel like you have regressed to high school, and believe me, even if you loved high school, you have to be crazy to wish this feeling upon a 22-year-old. “Yes mom, I did eat lunch today even though you were out running errands. I am sort of a functioning adult.”
2. What commuting is like: The longest commute I experienced at GW was a thirty minute walk to an internship junior year, which took about 10 minutes if I decided to take the metro. Sitting on the el for two hours every day is exhausting. As @PostGradProblems put it “Speeding up the aging process one commute at a time. #PGP” Nothing says anxiety attack quite like being sardined on a purple line express for an hour after sitting at a desk all day.
3. How tired you will be: I was extremely busy in college, running from class to work to Hillel to SDT events and then back to Hillel and out and so on, but post-graduate exhaustion is a whole new ballpark. As this said twitter handle so greatly phrased it, “searching for "fatigue" and "lethargic" on WebMD. #PGP.” Besides the fact that my friends joke about adopting bedtimes similar to those of fourth grade campers (and I 100% agree with them), my body literally always hurts and I could always go for a nap (if only offices had a nap room, right?). In addition, I haven’t had an immune system since, well forever, so this new lifestyle isn’t much help. I couldn’t have said this better myself: ”Starting every week by desperately trying to rebuild your immune system. #PGP”
4. How much you’ll actually miss the school part of school: I am not even sorry to say that I miss sitting in class, taking notes, and learning. I absolutely love my job, but I am not ashamed to say that I very much miss some of my professors. However, I don’t miss homework, papers, and exams, even a little bit, so there is something to be said about that. Of course, everyone knows that they’ll miss the social part of college. Why else would everyone joke about “Really regretting the whole "graduate in 4 years" thing. #PGP”
5. How you will never feel old enough to be living the life that you are living: One of my favorite tweets that I’ve read is “laughing to yourself anytime you're categorized as a young professional. #PGP.” There is not a day where I feel like I am actually old enough to be doing what I am doing. Even with the preparation for the real world, sometimes I still feel like I’m like 19, and that’s okay.
I guess what I am trying to say is that it is okay to freak out. Growing up is terrifying, the real world can be scary, and I don’t think anyone is 100% prepared for what lies ahead. I think it is acceptable to complain about these small details that encompass our lives after graduation as long as we make sure to celebrate the good things that come along with “adulthood” or what I’d rather refer to as “the limbo before adulthood.” Post Graduate problems are expected, but the little things that make this new life alright are essential.