As of this month, it will have been 2 years since I graduated from college, something I didn’t think I’d ever get to do. As a result of such a momentous event in my life, I had a plan for what I was going to do afterwards… but life is funny and it doesn’t quite go how we plan.
After college, I knew I had career goals and wanted to desperately leave poverty behind, but today it’s still a work in progress. And even though I know life takes time, sometimes it gets to me. If you Google “Millennials”, you’re likely to find articles about us; why we aren’t buying homes, diamonds or why we’re lazy, often written by old white men who fail to see how their generation messed it up for our generation. When talking about jobs and why millennials don’t have them, a baby boomers favorite thing to say is, “when I was your age, I left the house with a resume and by the time I came back, I had a job!” Here’s the issue with this distorted, ignorant logic: our parents and grandparents went to college, got married, and had kids. They had steady jobs in industries that paid enough for them to support their kids and all other associated dreams. Baby boomers don’t understand that times change and what they did is no longer possible.
For us, an entirely different set of circumstances, the market and economy, don’t work the same way. Realistically, post graduation life is hard: I’m trying to establish my career, stay out of debt, move out of my mom’s house and stay sane all at the same time. That is nowhere near easy. Luckily I have a family that understands and will work with me and my siblings, forever.
The American Dream established by generations before us is no longer, but our generation was set up to think it was. If you’re like me, you can be hard on yourself when things in your life don’t go as envisioned. I was extremely upset to be financially unstable at 24, but I failed to realize there are tons of folks in the exact same position. We see our friends post on Facebook about engagements, new jobs, and babies on the way and our brain compares ourselves, but you can’t measure your life that way. A) because it’s not fair to yourself, everyone’s time WILL come and B) it’s harmful to your mental health!
Our generation has been taught one basic, but major thing: make a way out of no way—we’ve literally made a job out of the internet (what up, youtube?). However, some of us will still be searching for jobs that match our degrees, only to be told we need 5 years worth of experience. Some of us will get minimum wage jobs that don’t pay enough to cover loans and save up for our first big move. It can be stressful, frustrating and sometimes painful, but its YOUR journey.
The bottom line is after college, you will work hard for very little, trying to create a life you feel you deserve. You might have to get help from unemployment, SNAP and any other social programs, but there’s no shame in that. You pay taxes for that kind of help! Again, you are trying to create the life you feel you deserve, remember that’s an active engagement, You’re trying to go from one ring to another and as hard as that is, you WILL get there. Congratulations class of 2017, you made it! Life is about to be rough so hang on, reach out for support and don’t be so hard on yourself, YOU GOT THIS!