~ by Olivia Humphreys
“College will be the best years of your life!”
It’s a common phrase anyone who has spent one day in college has heard before. As graduation and the threat of becoming a true adult stares you in the face, you begin to worry that this statement is true. The days of sleeping in, taking random naps in the middle of the day and spending afternoons celebrating Thirsty Thursday are quickly waning.
All that you have to look forward to now is working for the rest of your life and trying to climb the corporate ladder. Gross.
Or is it?
As a person who has successfully survived, and thrived, in my first year post-college, I can honestly say that being in the workforce is a 1000 times better than being in college.
For starters, there’s no homework or tests. I still have several friends finishing up their college careers, and do not envy them even a little when they complain about studying or writing papers.
You also get your evenings back. I’m fortunate that my current position allows me to leave work at work. This means I’m able to disconnect and enjoy my evenings how I want; something I rarely had the luxury of doing in college since I was always worried about my next assignment.
Terrible group projects are a thing of the past (if you’re lucky). This isn’t to say I don’t have group projects at work — I most certainly do! But my boss has done an amazing job of hiring fun motivated people that prove to me not all group work is derived from the devil. In fact, my job is super fun.
Another perk is that you get to become a “real person.” This is how my best friend, who is still an undergrad, refers to me now. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I have adult responsibilities like paying for food, rent, utilities, etc., but this also means I’m viewed as an expert in my field by students and my boss.
At CCPE, there are only three of us and I’m the only one with a marketing and PR background. This means, even though my job title is only outreach coordinator, I’m treated as an outreach director because I’m literally the only person who has marketing training. I’m the point person for all things regarding outreach and communication; something I never would have expected in my first year post-grad.
Post-college life has also been great because I’ve been able to read for fun again. In college, I was assigned a ridiculous amount of reading. This actually led me to despise it, so I very rarely read for fun while in school. Now that I’m not required to read 80 pages every night, I’ve been able to rediscover my passion for reading and try to read a little in the evenings.
There are also a million things you can do when you graduate from college that you never would have had time for before. These are some of my biggest accomplishments in the last year, in no particular order:
- Became a writer for Thrivers!
- Adopted an adorable dog, Flora!
- Took a road trip to Texas, where I got engaged!
- Officially launched my freelance wedding videography business, LivFree Videography.
- Grown professionally in more ways than I can even count!
While there are a number of truly fantastic pros to being a “real adult,” there is one con. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with money.
Honestly, it’s how other people sometimes view you because of your age. I’m fortunate/cursed in that I look younger than I am. At almost every event I’ve been to since graduating, I’ve been asked if I’m a student. In some people’s defense, I do work on campus quite a bit.
This normally isn’t an issue, but there can be times when it gets frustrating. For example, as my team walked into a luncheon this winter, an elderly gentlemen greeted my entire team with an enthusiastic and somewhat condescending, “Hey kids!” Granted, we are all under 30, but two of my coworkers have a Master’s and one even has a child!
In another instance, I overheard two ladies we share an office space with, talking about me one day. “She’s just too cute,” they said as I was leaving the room.
While these aren’t the most disparaging comments ever, they remind me that people sometimes view young professionals as, well, young and cute and not necessarily mature competent adults.
The best thing to do with comments like these is to just smile and move on. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, let it serve as a gentle reminder that respect is often earned with experience.
At the end of the day, college was great. But being a real adult is the best.