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The Harsh Reality Check I Had To Learn After College Graduation

Here I am, at 23, wondering what happened to that ideal blueprint of my life that was supposed to be followed

Another day, another job application: This has become my new normal after graduating college. If you were to ask my teenage self where I would be at this point in my life, it definitely wouldn’t involve the words “struggling college graduate.” But here I am, at 23, wondering what happened to that ideal blueprint of my life that was supposed to be followed.

At 17, I would’ve told you that in six years, I would be living in my California mansion, working at my dream job, making a seven-figure salary, and traveling the world to all the beautiful places that we only see on Instagram. That all sounded happily ever after until I got hit with a hard reality check that introduced me to the reality of the postgraduate life, where many find themselves wondering, What the hell happened? These are the times I really question why I couldn’t grow up as a Kardashian.

Part-time jobs, student loans, and paychecks disappearing to rent and groceries became so relevant to my everyday life. All of those issues, on top of trying to find the job that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, consumed me. I frequently wondered, Is it normal to feel scattered, anxious, and apprehensive regarding the future after college? Or, What happens if I’m stuck doing something that I hate for the rest of my life? These types of questions are the ones that continue to float around in my head day in and day out, evoking fear and leaving me more and more puzzled about what the future holds. The reality is that life is unpredictable and needs to be accepted as such, which is something I have trouble doing the majority of the time.

Scrolling through social media and seeing fellow college graduates land their dream jobs without a care in the world only gives me more uncertainty. Why are people being handed their careers, while I’m trying to persevere? That question, however, resonated with me. It opened up a new perspective that I was originally blind to: I can never compare my life to anyone else’s. Not everyone is going to live the same life as me, and not everyone is going to face the trials and tribulations that I have gone through. Everyone’s path holds a different story.

This upcoming May will mark the one-year anniversary of my graduation. Luckily, I’m blessed to have an amazing support system that believes in me and encourages me to trust that one day this difficult postgraduate life will be nothing more than a memory that I can look back on and prosper from. It’s moments like these that teach me to look at the grand scheme of things and not focus on every little detail.

I’d like to say welcome to my “new” reality. I may not be where I thought I would at this age, but each day, I’m one step closer.

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