Monday, June 17, 2013

The Stages of Post-Grad Life

Exactly 38 days ago, I graduated college and witnessed a man release a dove on stage seconds before he received his diploma.  Obviously, both were monumental occasions in my life.  Since then, I have been "fun-employed,"* a term I use when answering the only question people ask me in polite conversation nowadays: "So, what are your post-grad plans?  Got a job yet, you adult, you, har har!"

*Interestingly, my research has shown that my dad seems to hate me a little more each time I say that, as he sees his retirement money dwindling away as I ask him for money to buy donuts and theme park tickets.

Anyway, the Bible tells us that most important things happen in increments of 40 days (the great flood, Jesus lost in the woods, something Moses did, etc.).  If tradition holds true, then in two days I'll either be extended a job offer or will finally solve Level 65 of Candy Crush.  Either way, these past 38 days have taught me a lot about the stages of post-graduate life, which, not coincidentally, directly mirror the five stages of grief.

1. Denial
This stage can happen as early as freshman year of college or as late as your first year of grad school.  I always thought people are really annoying in this stage, because it usually resembles one of the following scenarios:

  1. A drunk girl talking about how she's never going to graduate because then she won't be able to go to theme parties (this was me).
  2. A drunk guy talking about he's never going to graduate because then he can't sit around in his boxers all day and smoke weed.
  3. Panicked seniors joking about how they're going to fail their last exam on purpose.
In all scenarios, I'm just like, "No you're not, so shut up."  Going into it, we all know college is going to end and that we're going to eventually graduate on schedule, because if not we'd be 25 and the number 60 won't refer to how many Gs we're making a year but rather how many seconds our keg stand is.  And we all know we're going to pay some junior too much money to take over-saturated pictures of us and our roommates (who at that point we definitely hate) all over campus in stupid poses and grad caps.  Thus, denial is pointless, for this is the way it shall be.

The denial stage continues into the first few weeks after graduation.  It's fun for awhile, believe me.  You might take a trip or two, sleep in, get a pool membership and Instagram pictures of your fabulous life and strawberry daiquiris.  Post-grad is great in this stage, until....

#hardlife #nofilter

2. Anger
You start to get angry.  You get angry that none of the 30 places you've applied to have contacted you back. You start doubting your self-worth as you realize YOU are becoming the Target employee with a Bachelor's degree in English and Early Renaissance Bullshit.  You think about all the money you wasted getting wasted an education and get even angrier.  Then your parents start asking when you're going to get a job, gently suggesting that you waitress or strip for awhile, "just so you're not bored, honey."  

3. Bargaining
I theorize that this is when most people who formerly denounced grad school urgently sign up for the next GRE.  "If I just go to grad school then maybe I'll find a job doing what I actually love.  Besides, I'm overqualified for these stupid jobs I've been applying I need more education."  In two or three years, you'll restart the process, but then you'll have a Master's so you'll know how to deal with it.

4. Depression
I mean, obviously.  You can't go to theme parties anymore, your parents are your new roommates with a better social life than you, and you've heard every rejection possible from "This position has been filled" to "After meeting you and talking for an hour as you sweated your way through your button-down, we feel that your personality is lame and not suited for this company so we went with another, less clammy candidate who has a better haircut and professional experience."  Of course you're going to get depressed.  

5. Acceptance
You get a cat, look for receptionist jobs, and start seriously dating because that's the only way you're going to pull yourself out of this mess.  (This is speculation, as I have only made it to stage 4.)

So if you're still in college, live it up because someday you'll have to explain to your teenager that the only thing you did with your English degree was watch all six seasons of Mad Men in your first month out of college and write a mediocre blog.  Impressive.

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