• Tue, Sep 14 2010

Post Grad Life IS Exactly What You Think it Is

I never saw Alexis Bledel’s rom-com Post Grad partly because when it came out it was the summer before my senior year in college and not being in college was the last thing I wanted to think about. It still is. Even though, now I am officially Alexis Bledel minus the striking blue eyes and I have yet to have an affair with an incredibly handsome Brazilian man (thanks, IMDb). The movie is largely based on the stereotype that college grads live at home with their rents, are unemployed and are very depressed over the fact that they now have a degree and no way to prove it. College Candy posted an article today about how the post grad stereotype is all wrong. Charlsie from Hollins University (both a name and a school I’ve never heard of) claims that the stereotype of “unemployed college graduates trying to find what they want to do next in life” is false. But before I continue with the rest of my argument, I would just like to point out that graduating college is a huge milestone no matter if you graduate at 22 or 45 and the very next step after graduation IS to find out what your next move in life will be. Therefore, the post grad stereotype is very much real and her article starts out all wrong.

However, she continues. As Charlsie is committed to acing the LSATs in the near future, she is also handling an internship at an entertainment and gossip website in Los Angeles. She says that with all this time she spends working towards her career (re: figuring out what she wants to do next in life) she doesn’t even have time to spend four hours on Facebook chat with her friends. What! You don’t keep in touch with your friends for hours and hours at a time?! Charlsie, no one does. But what I think the point you’re trying to get at is that you’re busy working toward establishing a life and career for yourself and not spending time on the couch doing nothing as an unemployed college grad. And you know what, cheers! Mazel Tov on finding an internship you love and working hard towards getting into law school. That’s really great. Not many people have figured out their lives remotely as far as you have.

But here it is. Let me lay down the law, if you will. I was that kid sitting on the couch applying to jobs and internships the second I got back from school (and by second, I mean starting in mid-May. I needed some recuperation time, sheesh). My schedule was as such: Wake up. Maybe run errands for my mom. Apply to two or so jobs/internships. Maybe meet someone for lunch (hopefully someone who would pay). Watch repeats of Ally McBeal, 90210 (the original) and The O.C. until my parents return home from work. Eat dinner with my parents. Maybe go to a friend’s house to watch more TV or a movie. If it’s a weekend (only because I had to wait for my working friends to want to go out), go to a bar. Repeat. There is nothing wrong with this schedule. If you’re embarrassed by it or that any of your friends follow it, then I feel sorry for you. I was not embarrassed. My life was simply in Limbo Land (I’m in the process of copyrighting that phrase so … all rights reserved). And you know what, so were/are hundreds of thousands of other college grads across the country. Limbo Land lasts until us post grads find full-time employment. I’m still in Limbo Land even though I’ve landed this super awesome internship with TheGloss. I’m working towards establishing a career for myself and starting a new life in the “real world.” Just because it took two, maybe three, months for me to start this journey, even semi-officially, does not mean that the stereotype I fit into as a post grad should have the stigma you say it has. There is nothing wrong with wanting to relax after four years of working hard and playing hard. Nothing. College is the best four, five or six years of your life for a reason and some people need time to adjust to not belonging in that world any longer.

Your article, Charlsie, graduate of Hollins University, addresses the wrong point. By you stating how bothered you are by the stigma you say is set by the stereotype of post grads — which is not a stereotype but a reality for most of us — you are only further condemning your fellow peers for still not knowing what we want to do with out lives after 22 (or plus) years. So, I have a journalism and “speech communications” degree and I’m trying to figure out who I want to be rather than trying to be the next Ida Tarbell or Diane Sawyer. That’s what needs to be addressed. Don’t hate on us slowpokes. Talk about how exciting it is once we post grads do finally get off the couch and enter into the exciting world of becoming our own person.

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  • Hannah Rose Siegel

    As a recent college graduate, and a person who still doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do with her life (how can anyone at age 22?) I definitely agree with this article. I worked most summers and winter breaks at a makeup store, and I decided to take the summer after college to decide what my next step would be. I graduated from college in May and got a great internship in August. I think most people benefit by taking a little time to decide their next step in life; it can really pay off in the end.

  • Charlsie

    I’m not necessarily knocking people that spend all day on the couch. Instead, I meant my article to reach towards the people that aren’t trying to find internships, aren’t trying to find jobs, and are simply doing NOTHING to figure out what they want to do and what they want to be. Taking some time for yourself is great. However, taking some time to do nothing but relive your college days and think of nothing but the past — not so great. There is a major difference between being a slacker, someone I consider not interested in doing anything to figure out the future, and someone that is still trying to figure things out, even if that means sitting on the couch watching reruns and applying for jobs occasionally. I’m not hating on “slowpokes,” I’m hating on the people that have made no attempt whatsoever to do anything or figure anything out because they are the ones that give us the bad rep.

  • CaliGirl

    There are parts of both articles that have merit. Four years ago when the economy was still strong, I was one of the lucky who finished school with a job in the industry I wanted to be in. I had scored two major internships at hot firms while I was still in school, setting me up for my dream job.

    Fast forward four years, and I realize now that my dream job in my ideal industry is not where I need to be. I’m okay with this–I don’t think most people find their dreams in the first shot. Until you are actually doing your “dream” job, you have no real idea if this is what you were meant to do. As Jillian implies in her article, experimentation and exploration is fine.

    My problem with Jillian’s article (and I think what Charlsie meant about recent grads in general, albeit poorly articulated) is that she seems to be okay with her half-speed exploration. Jillian doesn’t contribute financially to the household (even a barrista job at Starbucks will pay for her gas bill and bar visits) and her all-afternoon TV consumption could easily be replaced with additional job searches, attending career seminars or setting up informational interviews.

    It’s this casual approach to moving on with life that has fueled the “failure to launch” stereotype of graduates today. As someone who is still exploring and experimenting, I’m not watching TV reruns after work while waiting for my dreams to magically come true.

  • Emily

    I was one of those go-getter post grads. I started my masters immediately after my bachelors, I started law school immediately after my masters. In the summers I did internships and extra courses to further my law career. But after my first year in law school I had to admit that it really wasn’t for me. I took some time off, and after four months waiting tables part time and living at home, I got a job as an archivist. 3 blissfull work years and 2 promotions later and I can safely say that those four months were the most important of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

    http://www.thestuckduck.blogspot.com

  • shhh

    oh charlsie, don’t go to law school. No, seriously. Don’t.