A run-down of the thoughts you’ve been having as you come face to face with living in the real world.
- Money – While everything has always been expensive, you get the idea that your poor, broke college student days will rapidly turn into your poor, broke twenty-something days—with the added pressure of paying your student loans every month. And even if you paid most of the bills in college, you were probably relying on a loan or The Bank of Mom and Dad to pay your rent. Unless you’re moving back home, (a problem all its own) you can’t do this anymore. That rent check is coming out of your hard-earned money now, and you will long for the days when $60 monthly utilities seemed expensive. What’s more, real world digs are far less glamorous when it comes to pricing. The Bob Kessi Empire with its houses of under-$500 a month rent per person will seem like a fantasyland when compared to the criminal rent of apartment units in any metropolitan area. And along with reduced rent, say goodbye to all those freebies you once held so dear. Discounted rates on everything—from movie tickets to basketball games—will float away the moment you throw your cap in the air, so get your money’s worth while you still can.
- Sweatpants – Ah, the blissful days of rolling out of bed, pulling on sweatpants and walking to class ten minutes before it starts. No more. Those days are gone for the rest of your life. Kiss those pants good-bye, because it’s business professional for you from now on.
- Loans— The dreaded L-word. You’ve been stressing about these guys at least a little ever since your college career started, but just like everything else that’s popping out of Denial Graveyard, you will very quickly be no longer able to ignore them. That horrible, horrible figure of $300 a month. Or $500 a month. Or more. Or maybe you don’t know yet. But either way…You know what? Let’s just stop thinking about these guys. Right now.
- Parents—As you face the reality of your impending financial doom, you realize that moving back in with your parents is likely going to happen. The perks of no-rent living are hard to deny, but 22-year-old you is a much different person than the teen who left the house four years ago. You’re an adult now, and having to obey curfew, check in with your parents, and run errands for them like a household servant is going to get irritating. Quickly. You’re an adult. You should be able to do what you want.
- Job?????—Oh, yeah. That thing. As the months of your last hurrah of childhood pass by, that one little detail keeps nagging on your mind. Your resume looks surprisingly blank, and you wonder what you could possibly use to fill it in with. You scour jobs boards with increasing hopelessness. Even if you have an internship or two on your resume, you know you’re very likely staring unemployment in the face. You’ve heard stories from last year’s graduates about the 8-month job search for their receptionist job. And they’re the lucky ones. The outlook is bleak, my friend. Bleak.
- Decisions— Maybe you’re one of those lucky people who does have a couple options. And now you need to decide: which one should I take? Should I take the office job in Portland, or the research position in the middle of nowhere? Should I go to grad school, or get a job for a year? Should I stay in the area or move back to where I’m from? Or somewhere else? Should I do one of those delay-the-real-world programs? (Like this one. Or even this one.) Or plunge straight ahead? Decisions, decisions. And this decision might determine the trajectory of the rest of your life.
- Significant other—If you’ve got a boyfriend or girlfriend, there’s another dilemma to be added to the mix. Will you break up? Will you try to get a job in the same place? Will that mean sacrificing your career? And will you follow them or will they follow you? And, oh my god, if you move to another city together…will you LIVE together??? Crazy. Crazy talk.
- No more structure— No more class schedules. No more lunch periods. No more library time. The work world is your structure now, and whatever you choose to do with it.
- No more ready access to twenty-somethings—Perhaps the biggest loss of all. Your coworkers will all be at least thirty. And while their company is nice, they might not be the best people for your drunken Saturday soiree. Get ready for lots of boring talk from people you can’t relate to. And you’ll really have to seek out your friends from now on.
- Whether or not you’ll achieve your dreams—The time after college is the time where you actually start chasing after your dreams. Maybe you want to be a writer. Or an actress. Or a musician. Or an underwater basket-weaver. Well, now’s the time. Gulp. Yeah, you didn’t think it would come so quickly. And then you really start rethinking your dreams when you come face to face with the reality of possibly being a waitress for the rest of your life. I mean, really. Were you actually going to make it to Broadway?
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