Post college life is not exactly what my hollywood rom-coms have painted for me. I originally read Doctor Quack’s 10 things no one warned me about my twenties, and I thought I might be able to add my own insight to my rude awaking.
1. You are not going to meet your husband at a bar*
Just because for the first time in your life you are having relationships that have a higher probability that they will lead to marriage, doesn’t mean that the Lothario with hipster glasses buying you $5 pitchers of PBR is the father of your children. Many a friday night I see my peers trolling bars dressed to the nines to snag men. What are they hoping to find? Ask any of them and they have aspirations of meeting a nice guy and settling down, but not that night they are just out to have fun with their girlfriends. This is of course in direct contradiction to their selected outfit for the night.
*Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen but not normally
2. Real jobs don’t pay you as much as you would think.
Jaded by our parents handling the budget for your life, you probably don’t realize how much things cost. Even if you paid your own way through school you really don’t get a good handle on how much things cost like rent, electric, cable if you are lucky. You learn to enjoy the little things like talking a walk, cause its free.
3. People don’t get dumber with age, they get dumber with more responsibility.
I am sure you will come across this well before your 20s but now it becomes ever apparent. Your superiors at work, school, really anywhere where you have to answer to seniority, you will find that you feel like the smartest in the room. Its frustrating but you feel like you can run the show, but the folks with the titles do. Asking them to do simple tasks seem like a test in patience. For example, asking your superior to text you an address that you are supposed to be at will most likely get it in an email. Or a professor wont understand that you can send them a file from your Mac that can be read on their PC. It is a test I assure you that, but maybe our twenties is where we really hone our patience.
4. Take out is expensive, learn to cook.
Not only is having your 5th dinner at Taco bell bad for you, but even if you get the 5 dollar box its expensive. There is a reason why your mother made you help her in the kitchen, it’s so you wouldn’t have to starve when you were on your own. Yes it does take a fair amount of budgeting to be able to make that small paycheck last one trip to the grocery store, but it becomes sort of like a game. You start to understand those crazy coupon ladies.
5. You start to feel old.
First let me assure you that you are in no way shape old. But when you find yourself walking by Abercrombie and Fitch in the mall and think that the music is a bit to loud, a rush of “God! I’m old!” waves over your body. Little kids see you as adults even though you may not see yourself as one. When I took my nephew to see “Arthur Christmas” this past winter and he had to grab my hand to not get lost in the crowd I realized that I am the responsible one for this tiny life. Nothing makes you feel older, or better for that matter.
6. Get outa town…literally.
Think about it, what traditionally happens to people in their 30s? Well established careers, new families, etc? There is never a better time to travel and see some of the world, even the country. If you are lucky enough live somewhere else for a while decide that your hometown is really where you want to be, before you settle back there. Don’t feel bad for taking the time to enjoy new experiences in far off lands, better yet take a friend and share it.
7. Some people will be petty outside of high school, but most won’t
Your parents always told you that high school doesn’t matter, because you wont be friends with them in five years anyway. And for the most part they are right! But what happens when you run into those people out in your everyday post high school life. I’m sorry to disappoint you but really nothing happens. Most people will genuinely care what your up to seeing that you are living well, good job, and all that stuff. However you will always have that handful of people who peaked in high school and they will be just as petty. But that’s ok, just spend sometime stalking them on Facebook while you watch them get fat, it’s really therapeutic.
8. College isn’t a race
I definitely fit with in this. I am nearly 25 and I am still working on my college degree. However what I have found is that even though you might not finish college on the traditional timeline but you can learn so much more through life experience. While I was making my own path, I lived in two very different cities, was involved in two very different long-term relationships. I got the life experience that most people my age are just going through in their post college lives. I also have found that you can actually find out what you want to do. When I returned to college and got my first degree I got it in a field that took me years to figure out that I would be good at and I genuinely enjoyed. I didn’t need to waste thousands of dollars to figure it out, just a little time.
9. Your parents become invaluable.
All of those seeds of knowledge that your parents told you growing up finally start to take root. I guarantee this will be the first time that you will find yourself saying “God I am turning into my mother!” I have called my mom more times to ask her things like how to clean my walls and my father how to check the fluids on a car. Yes they have prepared you for independence but they used the oldest trick in the book; teach you just enough so you can feel confident on your own, but never reveal all their secrets. My poor mother, every time I see her now I treat her like my personal tutor in life lessons.
10. It’s ok to not have it figured out even at 30
At the end of the day, if you don’t have it figured out right away that ok too. Even if you think you have everything under control things can change at the drop of a hat. Jobs change, families change, life happens. This isn’t something to lament about just move along. It really becomes how you handle all the curve balls that get thrown at you.