Going to Graduate School is such an exciting opportunity and a changing point in your life. You (sort of) feel like a “real adult”, your work is much more meaningful, and you hope/know it’s going to lead you to some kickass connections as well as some awesome resume boosters/portfolio pieces. But no one prepares you for all the new struggles that come with it. PSA: BEING IN GRAD SCHOOL IS NOTHING LIKE BEING IN UNDERGRAD. I loved my school so much that I decided to stay here, but I didn’t realize most of the old AF people lived under rocks or something, and I didn’t think about the fact that there are literally 3 bars on this entire campus with the closest shitty city at least 20 minutes away. So here are some of the things I’ve learned/noticed happening this past semester.
1. “Didn’t you graduate??”
Why is everyone’s first thought that I must have failed a semester?? No I’m not gone. No, it wasn’t because I “wasn’t ready” for the real world. It’s because I was offered free tuition, a GA position, and I want a better job when I come out of college than I would with just a bachelor’s. Besides, staying in school lets me put off those undergrad loans. Double bonus.
2. Having all of your best friends move away
Whether they’re starting their new jobs, their new graduate school, or possibly their lives with a significant other, you are left entirely and completely without them. You realize that the best of friendships can survive the distance – texting daily actually does keep you close. But it’s just not the same without your partner in crime, and if you’re a social butterfly, you have to find other people to hang out with or risk social suicide. And you watch them do the same thing, knowing that NO ONE can replace you.
3. Having all undergraduate friends
Blending in, nothing to see here… If all my friends are going to a frat party, I’m not going to just sit at home twiddling my thumbs and reading Upton Sinclair. Just because I’m in grad school doesn’t mean I can’t still hang out with the people I’ve been hanging out with the past 2-3 years.
4. Meeting graduates who have their shit way more put together than you do
Okay, good for you for getting married. Glad you’re moving in with your boyfriend. Glad you want to stay in, wear sweatpants and do your work every weekend. Hey, I enjoy those nights on occasion too. But I don’t have a boyfriend, and I finish my work early so I can go out okay? Stop judging me. And yes, I might be a little jealous that that’s not where I am in my life right now, but I’m certainly not going to meet anyone by sitting at home.
5. Never knowing anyone’s age
For some reason, when I go out to bars (and after a few drinks), I assume any guy I meet at the bar MUST be over 21. Let’s face it – the stereotype that girls get special treatment and are able to get into bars underage while guys can’t mostly holds true. However, this is college, and getting a friend’s ID for the night is easier than the dorm slut. I once had a very romantic random bar encounter with a guy who honestly swept me off my feet. However, once I Facebook stalked him, I realized he JUST turned 20. I may not have my shit completely together, but I sure as hell am looking for a guy who does. Knowing how I was at 20, shallow as it may seem, I had to nip that in the bud. You have to be over the legal drinking age to ride this ride.
6. The engagements and children you see on Facebook
Thank you for the constant reminder that I’m old enough to have found my eternal happiness and have popped out a couple of cry machines by now. But the fact is I can barely take care of myself so I have NO fucking clue how you’re taking care of a household. Most days I contemplate what a life would be solely focused on my career and when the government will allow me to marry my dog (sorry, not a cat person).
7. THE MOUNTAINS OF WORK
Need I say more?
8. Every project is a group project
There’s always that ONE person who disagrees upon EVERYTHING and never hesitates to start their sentence with “Ehhhhhhhh……..”. Jesus Christ. Take a chill pill. Especially because your work isn’t any better than any of ours, despite how you come off. Everyone else, beers on me. And none for Gretchen Weiners, bye.
Overall, we know we’re only here for 2 years and then we’ll finally be setup with good jobs, and hopefully doing something we actually like. So the tradeoff? Totally worth it.