What happens to life after college? For so many of us it’s a time where we don’t know exactly where we are going or heading. Friends get engaged, married, and pregnant while we wonder if life is passing us by faster than we thought. We worry about finding jobs and wonder where to go in our careers once we do find that first gig. In short, the Quarterlife crisis is where we stop being kids and start being grown up.
For the next few days I’ll be hosting different perspectives on our post-college lives because even though we maybe going through times of personal growth and exploration- we aren’t doing it alone.
The first post in the Quarterlife Crisis series will be a personal reflection from me as I look back at my sister’s graduation.
My room was a mess.
Well it wasn’t my room anymore, it’s now my brother’s.
The small bedroom back in Chelmsford, MA slowly transformed after I moved to after graduation. I opened my closet to find that my brother’s wardrobe now lived there- with items I left behind pushed to the far corner. I dived into that corner looking for one last memento of my previous life.
“What are you looking for?” My mom walks in to see a big cloud of dust rise up from the closet as I frantically open up boxes.
“My graduation robe from college,” I answered, “I need it for Kim’s commencement tomorrow.”
I was back in town for Kim’s graduation from my alma mater, Fitchburg State, and I was asked by the college to march in the commencement as the alumni flag bearer. I was excited to accept the honor and thus I found myself digging in my closet for my old graduation gown.
I found it and pulled out the black robe that was last worn four years ago- when I graduated from college.
The next day I drove back to campus, I haven’t been back to Fitchburg for a couple of years yet the route back to college was still ingrained in my mind- like I never left. I drove up North Street and saw that a campus that was familiar yet different at the same time.
My old dorm was still standing but now had a fresh new name plate hung up on the side of the building. I walked into the campus center through a side entrance that has been totally renovated, yet as I walked into the lobby I was welcomed by staff and faculty that remembered me and for a minute I almost imagined myself back in school.
I enjoyed a breakfast with members of the alumni association and chatted with President Antonucci, who was very excited to have me back on campus. A giant publicity photo of me and other students still hangs in his office and we still exchange cards during the holidays.
I felt a familiar feeling as I lined up before the ceremony. It was much different this time around though. Four years ago: nervous, excited, and a little sick from the Atlantic City trip. Now: calm and relaxed. I wasn’t the one graduating. I could only imagine how my sister was feeling right now.
When the commemcement started I was the first to march onto the quad. As I led the line of alumni I saw Kim across way, leading her class in as student body secretary. Two Phos at different points of life at the same ceremony, they couldn’t of scripted it any better.
My sister Diana took a photo of Kim in the front row with me in the background. It painted an interesting picture of the moment.
As the commencement ended I found myself in the exact same place where I wondered what was next after college. Around that same time I opened a letter to myself from high school– and realized that I did everything I thought I was going to do in college. Four years after college there’s no letter from my college-self, telling me what I’d hope to accomplish.
Because there is no telling what happens to life after this.
Four years in high school. Four years in college, now four years out of school and I can see how I have changed and grown.
I am now on my second job in the real world and I have a 401k. I live hundreds of miles away from home and weekends are no longer three day benders.
It took awhile to get used to and I am still getting used to it, but in a sense as I was watching my sister gradute to the next step of her life I sat back and realized I too was graduting into a new phase of my life.
There may not be a letter predicting what would happen after college but I do know that I wouldn’t of expected to be where I am today: a young professional in social media. A blogger that works 9-5 during the day and stage manages shows at night. A person still figuring out who he is and wondering what the next step is and how to get there.
I didn’t expect to be here at all but I am damn proud that I made it this far- and can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.