Expectation vs. Reality: Your Life After College Graduation
Photo: Creatista (Getty Images)
Take it from us, real life is one long book report for something you never read.
After a grueling college education, you have finally taken your last test, written your last paper, and pretended to read your last book. So what now? You’ve imagined this moment all your life. You thought that as soon as you stepped foot off that graduation stage, somebody would trade your diploma for a job, slap a “sold!” sticker on you and give you the keys to the kingdom. But before you go “adult” in ways you see in the movies and TV, there are some hard-learned lessons coming your way, and we just want to give you the heads-up (for starters, when someone says “heads up,” you’re actually supposed to look up).
Welcome to the reality of your after-college life expectations, here to debunk the myths and give you a healthy real-life talkin’ to.
Expectation: Degree = Guarantee
You worked your tail off for the better part of two decades to receive your college degree, because you were assured that the end result would be a career you loved and that paid you handsomely. That’s what the entire point of going to school for this long was, right? You study hard, make good grades, and pass the tests. In the end, it was all worth it because now you’re doing work that, ideally, you had spent the past four years learning about.
Reality: Your Diploma Looks Really Good on Your Wall
The reality is that your degree sits nicely next your diploma on your wall of victories, but it does little else. And every time you pass by it on your way out the door to your restaurant job, you shed a single tear.
Expectation: The Big House with the White Picket Fence
You grew up in a picturesque house and you dreamed of one day owning a house of your very own. You would have a white picket fence, a garden, and even a garage for the motorcycle you swore you’d one day own. All you needed to do was graduate college and work for a couple years, and you would have your very own dream house.
Reality: A Studio Apartment with Thin Walls and Loud Neighbors
Your neighbors are old. Really old. But that doesn’t stop them from being aggressively loud during their more…intimate…times together. The studio apartment seemed romantic and artsy when you first moved in. But that was five years ago and you’re running out of room for your cats.
Expectation: Meeting the Love of Your Life in the Cutest Way Possible
You were sure that, eventually, you’d meet the love of your life at a farmers market or a bookstore. You’d casually bump into somebody, lock eyes and from that point on, you two would be inseparable. You’d get married, move into that house we were talking about earlier, and have 2.5 kids. You’d love the ½ kid as much as your other two, too.
Reality: Upgrading Your App from Tinder to Match.com
Since you’re a grown-up now, you were determined to delete Tinder from your apps. And you did! You were tired of casual hookups and meaningless meet-cutes. You want something real.
But after a week, you download Match.com because you have pride but don’t want to put pants on to actually go to said farmer’s market.
Expectation: Dinner Parties and Wine Tastings
You’re classy now that you graduated college and are a real adult. This means no more getting blackout drunk at the bar and waking up in a bush outside of Red Lobster. You’re going to mature, which means lots of dinner parties and wine tastings. You’ll only serve the finest wines and the most pungent of cheeses. You will recite poetry to your friends and neighbors, some of whom actually call themselves writers.
Reality: You Hate People
The good news is, you’re not getting blackout drunk at the bar anymore. The bad news is, you’re not really doing much of anything. With anybody. At any time. You realized that you don’t actually like interacting with humans and you would much rather drown your sorrows with a single solitary bottle of wine in your studio apartment.
Expectation: You Finally Make Your Parents Proud
Now that you have the big house, the great career, and the beautiful spouse, your parents will finally utter the four words you’ve been waiting your lifetime to hear: “I’m proud of you.”
Reality: You’re Still Asking Them for Money
Somebody has to pay for the cat food!