A down payment for a car. A decent apartment. Job offers. I expected these things to fall into place after I graduated from college. Instead, I faced no job offers and not nearly enough money to start my “adult life.” So, at 22 I am still living at home with my father in the same town I was born and raised in – and I couldn’t be happier.
Most of my friends who I graduated with majored in lucrative areas such as Communications, Computer Science, and Biochemistry. I, on the other hand, chose the not-so-lucrative path of English Literature. That’s right, I majored in reading. While I am proud of my degree and do not regret the path I chose, I am currently using my degree as an expediter at an up-and-coming restaurant that opened recently in my hometown. Despite loving my job, and learning from it immensely, this is not where I thought I would be as a graduate from a liberal arts college. I thought I would be working somewhere like Amazon by now, with great pay, a 401k, and stellar health benefits.
It was a harsh reality to realize that life is not like my Sims game that I so dearly loved growing up – you cannot just choose whatever job you want, type in a cheat to get more money, or make some extravagant meal when you are hungry. You have to work hard, save the money you earn, and try to find time for a decent meal.
Relationships are also a large part of post-grad life. Though I am only 22, I see a lot of my friends on Facebook getting engaged or married, moving to different places, or even having children. These are all concepts that, as children, we were taught were the standard steps of life, and if you weren’t following those steps, you did something wrong. While I know 22 is a very young age to be accomplishing these milestones, I still find myself longing for the lives of my friends who have already found someone they want to spend their life with, or who finally found a starter home to make their own.
In short, I expected life to be much easier after graduation. Though I knew that I would have to start paying bills and put forth a concerted effort to create a foundation for my adult life, I saw that my parents had made it almost sixty years without many hiccups (that I knew about), so how hard could it be? It wasn’t until I had to make $30 last two weeks that I realized how terrifying and real adult life is. I no longer have the luxury of asking my father to fill my gas tank, or asking my mother if I can borrow $20 to go have dinner with friends. Despite these harsh realities, I still would rather be where I am than back in college. I have a job that, despite having nothing to do with my degree, has taught me how to be confident, resilient, and how to adapt to multiple situations or personalities. My job has allowed me to meet so many people who can now further my life down the line when I do decide to use my degree. My financial situation has taught me how to live off of nearly nothing, and still be able to survive. Post-grad, adult life is a lot like any foreign language: there’s no better way to learn than to just throw yourself in and immerse yourself.
Katie is a recent graduate from DePauw University. She graduated with a degree in English Literature. She’s currently using her English degree as an expediter at Bridges Wine Bar and Pizzeria and an occasional writer for National Road Magazine.