20something profile: Liz
I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, because I feel like what I really want is to just never grow up. Getting out of college was a lot like being dragged out of a safe and comfortable nest. It was only five months ago that I graduated, and I’m still not entirely over it.
I was always encouraged to get a degree in demand, not something I was necessarily passionate about. I picked my two degrees (English and Philosophy) without much consideration whether they were going to land me a job. People had warned me about the curse of being a liberal arts student, how finding a job was going to be quite the task.
I wish I could say that I proved them all wrong and had left college with a 6-figure salary, a house and dog of my own. The truth is, I’m living with three other people in an apartment complex in the Greater Boston area. Judging by the amount of ceiling that is crumbling off, the number of rats that reside with us, and the mold that covers the wall, I’m surprised my apartment hasn’t been condemned.
I’ve worked a number of random jobs since graduating. I’m currently a high school tutor and working at a call center, where we’re given a random script each day before we start making calls. I can read during my shift and it helps the time pass. When the shift is over, I pack up and take the bus home.
A lot of new graduates move back home with their parents, and I have considered doing this myself. My parents live in the South at the moment and have asked me to move back home numerous times. When I started college, they weren’t even living in this country. Not having my parents around helped me become more independent. I had been moving every two years or so since the day I was born. I was used to change, and it helped me become more independent, since I didn’t often have a support system of long term friends growing up.
I loved college; I have a mild obsession with it, and now I’d really like to go to graduate school. A lot of people my age are trying to settle down, figure out what they want to do, get a stable job with a salary and maybe even dental benefits. Recent graduates know the fear of student loans. I’m very grateful to be in a unique position where I managed to graduate with very little debt, and this saved me from the anxiety a lot of people my age are experiencing.
Admittedly, there have been a lot of nights when the panic sets in and I wonder if I’ve made any unfixable mistakes. Sometimes when I see my mother’s calling me, I’m compelled to hit the ignore button on my phone because so often I hear her ask, “What are you going to do, Liz?” I wonder the same thing sometimes.
Without the structure of college, I’m forced to mold my own foundation, and sometimes I’m not even sure where to start. I know I am not alone. I hear from my college friends who have gone back home after college for financial reasons. Many of them comment on how they feel that they have lost some control over their life because, not only are they back at home, they’re up to their necks in debt.
After college, to keep myself writing, I started a blog called: www.postcollegeprogression.wordpress.com. I really needed the motivation to write. I sat down last month and wrote my first bits of fiction since I graduated. It felt really great. I might not know what I want to do in the future, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I went into college knowing that I wanted to be an English major and many people come into college with an undecided major. I never thought that I would be undecided after college.