College Glory Days to Maladjusted Adulthood

Things girls spend their high school years obsessing over: relationships, driver’s licenses, and the idea of college. From an early age, we cheer on our favorite university sports teams and live in a world where adults don their alma mater’s apparel with proud enthusiasm. We are forced to trade J-14 for The SAT for Dummies. We begin focusing all of our teenage vigor on standardized tests, which if completed with adequate sleep, luck, and no outside drama, will produce a score that gives us a suitable college scholarship. Days spent listening to the same speech on college tours and painstaking hours agonizing over what will be the “right choice” lead us to what we’re told will be the best four years of our lives.

After being dropped off by our parents and saying a slightly teary goodbye, we charge forward into a freshman year filled with underwear dance parties and scouting out the cutest boys in the cafeteria. The years pass and we grow, gaining best friends along the way. Eventually, we cram enough knowledge into our sleep-deprived brains to earn the right to walk across the hallowed stage and turn our tassels with glee.

Photo by Julian Cousins

Photo by Julian Cousins

There is something nobody tells you, though. The precise moment when you hold up your diploma to your family and favorite professors and beam with pride is simultaneously the best and worst moment of your life thus far. You return home from a celebratory lunch with your family. As soon as your cap and gown hit the floor, the silence happens. The endless void that is adulthood creeps like the grim adult reaper into the room and steals your soul, along with remnants of all of your favorite college memories. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you have nothing. No job, no plan, no college friends left in town. You’re faced with the overwhelming fact that you’re too old to wear a crop top at a bar, but too young to be taken seriously in the professional world. While Netflix serves as a suitable friend until you finally finish re-watching Gilmore Girls in its entirety (it took me three weeks, how about you?), the agony of leaving college fills your bones and hardens them in a way that makes it impossible to get out of bed.

Get up! Put on your big girl panties (but actually put on your granny panties, because you’re a boring adult now). Every teacher in the history of forever read the Dr. Seuss quote about your mountain waiting for a reason. They were all conspiring for this exact moment: when you realize you’re no longer in your “glory days.”

During those moments where you fear maladjusted adulthood the most, remember these wise words:

  1. You’ve been training for this moment your entire life. Believe it or not, you’re ready!
  2. The chances of Facebook portraying a realistic image of your friends’ lives are about as plausible as a painless body wax. That ish ain’t true, so don’t get too caught up in the “amazing” things everyone else is doing.
  3. Self help books really do help. Who Moved My CheeseWhat Color is Your Parachute? These are all valid questions to ask.
  4. Our society thrives on connections. Don’t be afraid to utilize these. You may have to practice hearing the word “no” a few times (remember all the training you got with boys in middle school?), but you’ll eventually get a “yes!”
  5. It’s okay to take a break and shake it off. Let the Taylor Swift lyrics pour in and remember how “miserable and magical”  your situation is (magical being the key word!).
  6. You’re intelligent. You earned your degree for a reason. Know it and own it, because you’re as qualified for adulthood as you believe you are.

Feature photo by Averie Woodard/ VIA Unsplash