Fear Factor Of A Post-Graduate

Spring Break 2012 in Miami

La Sera – “I Can’t Keep You In My Mind”

One week ago I graduated. I sat in fear of this day. Not because I actually feared graduation. I feared the day would never come. I’ve convinced myself, actually.

There are those occasional markers. They keep the end in view. Apply for graduation. Buy your cap and gown. Excessive drinking. Really excessive, actually. To the point where exams the next day means drinking the night before if the right opportunity presents itself.

When I was five I was told I can be whatever I wanted to be. As I became older I realized these weren’t plausible occupations. It didn’t pay enough. It was unrealistic. I wasn’t physically gifted enough. I only wanted the job for the money. I was too lazy to put in the effort. I must have gone through a dozen jobs before I graduated elementary school, but reality sets forth like a cold brick flown to your temple at light speed and man, does that shit hurt.

I settled, admittedly. Not everyone does. Some put that effort in. Some get started at an early age. Some couldn’t give a fuck less what they’re getting paid. I choose to take the route that would give ample use of my time for professions that I love, regardless of pay. Are they the dream occupations? No. I won’t be a musician, I’ll never be a photographer. Or actor. Or President. Or basketball player. I’ll write. I’ll be a counselor. Good enough.

Since the age of four all I’ve known is school. School was supposed to prepare me. I feel anything but. I’m supposed to be prepared for the next ten years to complete two goals: marriage and a real job. Problem is for nearly 23 years I’ve barely had a coherent relationship, let alone a job that parallels my strengths. I recognize these being me wasting my own time, but I don’t think I’m the only one.

It’s not like school taught me how to be a good boyfriend or a good counselor. The American school system taught me a bunch of nonsensical information that rallied around subsystems & categories that give no general preparation or real perspective of world culture. It re-taught me bullshit like black history during Black History Month or the Civil War instead of discussing the institutions that continue racism to this day. It re-taught me the Constitution and Bill of Rights instead of teaching me how our political figures impede on these rights yearly.

School was a waste of time. One that just left me with more questions than answers and yet it’s all I know. How do you tell an addict to take himself off something he’s been doing for 19 years? Cold turkey, too?

I had a roommate who did heroin. He tried getting off by quitting completely. He’d sit in bed and sweat all day. He’d sleep all day. He’d have terrible mood swings. Going cold turkey was worse for him than the normalcy of being on heroin.

I can relate. I’ve graduated, but I only feel anxious. I have debt. I have to find a job or go back to school (which could actually end up being a waste of money considering the economy & job market.) I’ve left behind hundreds of people I expect to never see again. This is me at the edge of extremes. This is the reality for a post-grad in this shitty economy.

Maybe I should have prepared better. While many accepted graduation and dove into jobs they’ll be starting in the coming weeks I decided to prolong the process. I’d rather enjoy senior year than look for that job, or take that test to get into grad school. I’d rather drink in excess. It parallels my lengthy cap & gown purchase or my extended application for graduation. Like anyone else, I fear change.

Would any of this have made a difference though? Hundreds of my friends are jobless with no plan. My friend Frank has one of the best resumes on the planet. It’s insane to think he has nothing lined up. Plenty are going to graduate schools because that’s literally all there is to do — more school.

Now I sit here with endless possibilities and no real plan. It’s fucking scary. It’s the post-apocalyptic world. Everything is for survival. I still cling to my youth, knowing that these are potentially the best years of my life. I don’t want to be 35, married and suicidal. I want to be 35, married and knowing I couldn’t have done it any better.

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About realmikeclark

23-year old Journalism & Psychology graduate of the University of Connecticut.
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