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Post College: I Was Not Prepared for Life After Graduation

Life Wasn’t What I Expected One Year After Graduation

In one month, I will celebrate the one-year anniversary of my college graduation. One whole year since I commenced a new part of my life. To be honest, this past year has not been easy. In fact, it has been pretty lonely. And I was caught completely unprepared.

When I was in college, I anticipated that my life after graduation would be an entirely positive experience. I thought I would have all the confidence in the world, my past shyness nowhere to be seen. I assumed that I would have a dream career lined up with many friends close by.

But that is not what happened. As college came to an end, I began to feel very unsure—about my career choice, my social life, and myself. I wanted to make new friends, but I felt self-conscious and did not know what to say. So I was socially isolated and embarrassed by my social isolation. That embarrassment made me want to hide even more. I felt overcome by self-doubt.

My expectations did not meet reality. That disconnect was a shock and a disappointment. Because it hurt and I wanted to avoid further pain, I began to shy away from experiencing new situations.

Figuring My Life Out Post College

But I am starting to understand that I must be intentional about this transition. I must work hard to create a new normal. I’d hoped that new friendships would form as naturally as they did while sharing a table in the dining hall, but being in a city not knowing many people my age is going to take more effort. I have to search out the equivalent of the college dining hall table in this new life I lead. As for the job search, it will take many applications and many rejections, but I will keep trying.

Although this year has not been what I had hoped for, it has been a good year for self-reflection. As I enter my second year after graduation, I intend to work on coping with situations that call for me to participate, to speak, and to open up to others. I often forget, but it is true that practice and not just preparation is part of learning and gaining confidence, even if that practice begins with difficulty.

The disconnect between expectation and reality can be daunting. It can hurt. But I have learned that it is not the end. My feelings of loneliness are no longer as strong or as frequent. I am growing accustomed to this new stage of life after school. And proudly, I take steps to keep trying even when things are not exactly as I had anticipated.

Faith Bell is a graduate of Kenyon College.

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