Life After College: It’s Not What You Think
So you have followed your parents’ advice, went to school, faced your books, and graduated with a degree in one of the African trifecta of acceptable studies: Law, Engineering, or the Sciences. Now at this your big age, you are expecting a 6-figure salary, luxury car, and going on vacations 4 times a year, and guess what? Your village is expecting the same and will be eagerly waiting for your first paycheck to come to them. In reality, it’s the day after graduation, you are $100,000 in debt, still living at home, your mommy is still cooking for you, and you’re too lazy to do laundry because you have better things to do…like Netflix. Your mates are even going viral with their graduation captions such as “I had to get a job at 3 years old, I had one arm and I’m half blind but I paid my way through college and now I’m the CEO of Headass Enterprises.” Seriously, how do you compete with that? Trust you are not alone, there are thousands of individuals just like you who are dealing with the reality of life after College. Our parents came to the U.S. under the premise that this is the land of opportunity and that their children will grow up and become rich if they do well in school. Welp, I’ve got news for you, it ain’t happening! At least not right away. Many in our generation often feel pressured to become wealthy by 25 and if we don’t, we’re failures. That post-graduation depression is real but fret not, here’s a brief guide to help ease your transition from struggling new graduate to shaku shaku’ing through the pressure.
1. You’re still the same person
That’s right, sorry to disappoint you, but nothing has changed. You may be more mature and wise with the ever so random experiences that college has to offer, but deep inside you’re still the same pikin that likes to steal meat from the pot. A lot of us feel that when its time to “grow up,” we automatically need to delete all of our social media, stop shopping at Forever21, and start casually using words like “subsequently.” Seriously, have you heard any of your mates using that word? No. Be yourself.
2. Parties don’t feel the same anymore
Do you remember that night when you mixed dark and light liquor, drunk texted your ex, told your best friend you loved them 100 times, lost both your shoes, passed out in your car, and STILL made it to your 8 class? Me neither. Once you graduate, I promise you this phenomenon becomes a near impossibility of incomparable proportions…aka you’re getting old. It’s time to graduate to some wine and suya (shameless plug for our Tribal Marks Podcast
) and relax. Those all-nighters of party buses and turnups just aren’t worth it anymore. Get used to being in bed by 10pm. PSA. DAY PARTIES ARE YOUR NEW FUNCTIONS.
3. Don’t feel threatened by your friends’ success
God has a plan for all of us (cue Drake). You may have done everything right, attended every class, studied for every exam, yet your friend who was always using Course Hero
for answers is getting job offers left and right. College is supposed to be a 4-year investment with the deal that you graduate and land a good job. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone. It takes time to land your dream job. In the meantime, take some time to relax, travel, start that Youtube
blog you’ve always wanted. You’ve spent the last 4 years in the library and deserve a little downtime. Sure we all have bills…but Sallie Mae can’t catch me in Ijebu. 😉
4. Life hits you hard
Being an adult is overrated. If your college didn’t teach you how to properly balance your budget featuring a ramen noodle diet every night, then you’re in for a bumpy ride. Now that you’re out of school, you may be getting a place of your own which opens up a pandora’s box of responsibilities. Get familiar with the seven deadly sins: Rent (and utilities), Insurance (health AND car), Phone bill, Car note, Credit card, FAFSA and Taxes. Not to mention, sending some money to your parents, taking bae out to eat, and life’s random curve balls–like a freak dishwasher accident flooding your apartment. It can be tough. You have to mentally be prepared to hustle, or you may get lost in the sauce.
5. You may not even use your degree
I know, I know. You’ve spent all that time in school finessing your teachers and paying the TA to write your A&P lab papers for you, only for you to get a job as a health insurance salesman. This is not uncommon in America. The job market, depending on where you live, may be difficult to maneuver through and more and more people are getting the same degrees these days. Most employers are leaning more towards experience rather than education, but how the heck are you supposed to have 6+ years of experience in your field straight out of school? You may have to settle for a job in an unrelated field to pay the bills. This isn’t the end of the world however, see below.
6. Go back to school!
Before you insult me and tell me “it is your mudda that will go back to school,” just hear me out. Depending on your degree, most bachelor’s are not gonna be enough to win the employers over. I’m not saying go for your doctorate’s or master’s (although a great idea), there are certifications that you can get within months that will boost your chances of landing a better job. Whether you take a year off and go back to school, or you step right back into the gauntlet, having a higher education doesn’t hurt anyone (besides your pockets).
7. Marriage is around the corner
Your African parents expect you to be married right after graduation, even though they’ve told you not to date anyone until after school. I don’t know how that works either; that’s their own problem, sha. For some it’s true though, it’s the next stage in life. You’re 24/25, lived your best life, but now its time for you to be serious about your dating life. Companionship gets harder to acquire as you get older, you don’t want to end up with your dream car, house, job, but no one to share that happiness with. If you aren’t prepared to settle down just yet, continue working on yourself because before you know it, you’ll be that 40-year-old at the club trying to get numbers. Not a good look.
8. Set goals and be more professional
You’re in the real world now, there’s no more “winging it” and hoping for the best. Develop an actual plan for your life if you haven’t already. Beef up your resume, respond to emails faster, make a LinkedIn, and use words like “subsequently!” Now this directly contradicts the first
tip, but hey that’s life as an adult. You never know what you’re gonna get. 😉
At the end of the day, you’ve done a great job getting your degree and you deserve some accolades! Life has its twists and turns and may not end up how you imagined. However, keep your head straight and your goals in sight. You’ve got this!