So What's Happens After Graduation? Talking about the Post-Grad Blues

Navigating growing pains and talking about what happens after graduation

Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

Lifestyle & Identity

One minute you spend every moment of your life surrounded by other 20-somethings. Living all of your lasts in college. Last football game, last night out at your college bar, your last sorority formal. You even begin to think of the small things as lasts: last breakfast with your roommate, last night in your college apartment, last time walking to class.  College to me felt like one moment I was a seventeen-year-old not knowing my right from my left on campus to then being twenty-one sitting at my commencement ceremony.

The crazy thing about all these lasts is that you don’t believe it will end. Then reality sets in when you’re being handed your diploma and realize they weren’t kidding. It’s a whirlwind of goodbyes after you get that diploma and you contemplate if a lot of the people you were mere acquaintances with you will ever see again and also wonder when you will see some of your closest friends again. 

Finishing college is scary - but not enough people talk about what happens afterward. I think we need to because the post-grad blues are real. Being around 21-23 and going through a huge transitional period in your life can feel completely overwhelming. My best friends went from living down the hallway to my close friends ranging from being a fifteen-minute drive away from me to being on the opposite end of the world. And let me tell you even admitting that fact on paper is scary.

The realization did not hit me until the summer after graduation was over. In August my emotions began flushing in as I realized that I wasn’t going back to campus in the fall. Everyone’s post-grad dilemma is different - personally, it takes me a long time to process things and I spent the entire summer of LSAT studying where I didn’t have much time to think about anything else, but I had friends who had their dilemmas in June or July when moving to a new city. 

One thing that I do know to be true amongst all of my friends: whether they are in grad school, taking a gap year, or working full time is that there are several moments of loneliness in that transitional period. College is unlike any other time in your life. You are probably never going to have the opportunity to do things like live with forty other girls in a sorority house again or have such a broad diversity of people with their intellectual interests at your fingertips. No matter what you are doing, you are going to miss your friends. 

However, I have learned that instead of being sad about what I lost I instead cherish those moments even more. I reminisce on the nights when my friends and I were running down the streets of Los Angeles, the moments of existential dread in the 24/7 library, and Sunday mornings spent having bagel outings with my roommates. I have learned there is no cure to the post-grad blues and sometimes it hits you all at once. And trust me, you will cry - a lot. There are moments when it feels like life will never be the same and you realize how scary growing up is. 

While there is no real cure - there is a remedy. You have to realize that you are in your early 20s and there are going to be so many more sweet moments. Whether it be randomly deciding to go see Kesha with your friends on a Saturday because you don’t have school work to worry about in what would be midterms or hugging your long-distance friends after not seeing them for months.

There is also solace in the small things: the peace of not having a roommate for the first time in four years or being able to curl up with your favorite book on a Saturday. Post-grad can be hard, but just remember we are all in the same boat. College is just a small part of life that you have to laugh and love. We should feel lucky to have the opportunity to have four years of memories filled with people we quickly fell in love with. And hey, there is a reason we have airplanes.