From University to the Work Place.

This afternoon, I had a phone conversation with a very close, long-time friend.
We don’t talk as much as we used to, or go out as much we used to. But each time we talk, we speak so comfortably and with no-holds barred. I think sometimes distance between friends allows intimacy and frankness. Because if we move too closely, we are usually afraid of being judged and the possibilty of baring your soul, terrfies.

But I digress. We were talking about working life. I have come to a few conclusions, but the main one would be that the transition from University to the ‘adult’ working world is grossly underrated. What makes it worse for the both of us, is that while we graduated, many of our closest and dearest friends are still in school. And the feeling of seeking out a job, and making important life-changing choices all alone, can be a very frightening and terrifying one.

The day you graduate, everything changes. You aren’t on your own anymore. In school, it is different on so many levels. You can choose which modules to read. You can choose which lectures you want to attend. You can chooses your thesis statements. Heck, you even choose who you want to hang out with. As long as you study hard, there are so many choices open to you.

When you put on your mortar board and clutch your scroll, you look forward to a whole new chapter in your life. Scrap that. It’s a whole new book. A different set of rules. New boundaries, a different type of freedom that is still tied to respoinsibilites. And the undercurrent issue that runs beneath all these concerns? Expectations. Your family expects you to work, and repay the gratitude. Your relatives expect you to work, because otherwise, they will compare you with their sons and daughters. Your friends expect you to work because, hey! They know you, and love you, and do think that after graduation you have to find a job to be happy. And the worst? You expect yourself to work because otherwise, what use has your life been anyway?

So, what happens is that when these expectations have all been unmet for a long time, your sense of self-worth starts to erode slowly. And then you get a call from your friend, and realise you are not alone. You have not opened up or called, because you are afraid to have not met those expectations and to have disappointed.

This is the deal. There must be a support group for people like us. It’s scary because priorities suddenly shift beneath you and you wonder if it’s normal to feel this way. You can’t seem to connect with your friends still in school because while they are wondering how to get through that paper or skip that lecture, you wonder how are you going to get a job and feed yourself and clothe yourself? You yearn to go back to school, to shirk off all these responsibilities, to once again connect with those friends, on the same level. But well… things have changed.

All I can say is, Chin Up, girlfriend.
There will be a better day.
And one day, we’ll meet over coffee or wine, and chat about how uncertain the future was, and how happy we are now.

That is, of course, my optimism speaking.


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