Making a Home from Scratch | Thoughts on Post-Grad Life
This may be the least-controversial opinion of all time, but here it is: Post-grad life is really, really hard.
You've just spent 4(ish) years in an environment where you can pursue your passions, dictate your schedule, and enjoy summer, spring and winter breaks. If you're lonely, there's a million clubs to join and events to go to. If you're hungry, there's certainly free pizza or burgers somewhere on-campus. If you're looking for friends, you're surrounding by people in classes, in your dorm, and in the dining hall at all hours of the day and night.
Then, you graduate.
All of your friends move away or get married or start jobs (or all 3 at once). You work a job that maybe isn't exactly in line with your long-term dreams. Even if you're in your dream job, it's an adjustment to go from controlling your own schedule and walking to different, interesting classes every day - to working all day, every day.
For many of us, post-grad means lonely days, growth, learning, changing our minds. I've lost track of how many of my friends in the same position have at one point said, "I don't know what I even want to do with my life any more." Some of us contemplate changing career paths, moving cities, going back to school for another degree, giving up entirely (kind of kidding). Even those of us who are super happy with our jobs find the change difficult at times.
In case no one warned you how hard this would be, let me be the first to say: Your life post-grad will be hard.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I'm just over a month away from being a full year post-college and many days I feel as lost as I did the night before graduation.
I've already moved 3 times since graduating. I started a new job in a new city. I've already said a lot of goodbyes to friends moving across the country.
The other day I was talking to one of my friends who's also going through the post-grad adjustment. We started talking about how hard it is to build your life from scratch.
This isn't unique to recent college grads, but anyone starting over in a new stage in life goes through the same thing. You move to a new city and you have to try to make new friends, find new groups to join or places to visit, find a new favorite coffee shop/bar/pizza place, start a new job, and generally make a new home for yourself.
My new home has been an apartment in Chattanooga that I share with my best friend. We started off with pretty much nothing - a twin bed leftover from college, some furniture from a grandma's basement, a few pictures taped to the wall. Over time, we've filled it out with a TV, some interesting DIY decor, a kitchen table, and most recently this little dish towel that gripped my post-grad heart in World Market last week.
"Everyone is welcome here."
That's what the towel that now hangs from our stove reads. It's another piece in the little home that I've built from scratch this year. And to me, it says the most important thing about post-grad life.
We're all welcome here. You're welcome if you found your dream job the day after graduation and you're loving it. You're welcome if you have already quit your first job, and you don't know what direction to go next. You're welcome if you're already back in school, or if you're teaching new students to find their own way. You're welcome if this has been the hardest year of your life, and you're welcome if it's been the absolute best.
Here's the thing, no matter what this year has been like for you, I have no doubt that it hasn't been without its struggles, ups and downs and hardships. So no matter what you're experiencing, you are welcome here.
Whoever you are, reading this, you are welcome in my home at any time. Literally, if I know you, you can always find a place of safety and a good home-cooked meal in my apartment. If I don't know you, let's not be creepy, but you can always send an email or DM if you need to know you're not going through this massive adjustment alone.
Let's keep on making our homes from scratch, buying dish towels and creating works of art to hang on the walls. Let's keep inviting friends over for dinner or movie nights. Let's keep on working hard to make this life into a home.
If you have thoughts or comments, I want to hear them. How has post-grad life been for you? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending a message. As always, if you want more, subscribe to my email list by clicking here.