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Almost: What happens after graduation?

Emily Dean

"Graduation! YES! I made it! Finally independence is at my fingertips! The world is my oyster! I can go anywhere, do anything, and be anyone I want to be!”

“Sweetie, what time will you be home?

Cue scratching record noise and flash back to reality. That beautiful scene, of independence reeling before your eyes, goes blurry. Now you are looking at bills, college loan debt, possible other debt and other challenges of life on your own means and for one reason or another, independence is placed on the back-burner. It’s disappointing, discouraging, and a dream dissolving.

I can honestly tell you all of these feelings and thoughts go through my mind weekly. I am certainly not where I thought I’d be, high-school-graduate-me nor college-graduate-me pictured the woman I am today. Up until about half a year ago, I was a girl in her late-20's still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and still living at home. It was super frustrating being a fully grown adult, living with my parents, working multiple part-time jobs, interviewing and trying to decide what I really wanted out of my life. Adulthood is tough enough without being constantly reminded that you do not “have it together.”


Anyone else out there feel this?

Do you spend days where all you do is stay in your sweatpants, drinking all the coffee, and Netflix the day away? You want to hide away from reality and responsibilities for as long as possible. I mean, living with parents and still feeling and/or being treated like a kid, why do we have to act like an adult at all? Your parents still ask: “Where are you going? Did you call about that job, yet? You can help with these bills, right?” Which we often translate to: “Hey kid, when are you going to grow up? Are you ever going to be a successful adult?” Or maybe, you have been succeeding in making some money, helping out your parents and putting some savings aside. But working those multiple jobs, leaves little time for you. You spend your free time eating, sleeping, and possibly getting a shower.

Either way, there is a serious lack of time spent on researching careers, that reading list you have been meaning to get to, building your portfolio, gaining new life skills, editing your resume or adding to it… whatever steps you think you need to take to get to the next part of your life. In addition to this, you are adding on a giant layer of guilt for not being where you “should” be and working towards your dreams and goals. These dreams you had convinced yourself you would have achieved by now.


Sisters, hear this. Instead of listening to the bully in your head, stop, breathe, and take in the moment. Appreciate your parents for all they have done and are doing for you. You are always their child, first and foremost. The nagging and the questions can be frustrating and overbearing-but remember, clichéd as it is, it is coming from a place of love. When you take the time to remember that, it is a lot easier to have more of a thankful heart and appreciation for your parents. They are letting you stay there (and save money) while you figure this life stuff out. If this is your situation, it isn't all that bad, because not everyone has the opportunities you do. And, this might be a little crazy, but maybe, just maybe, you could look at the comforts of home as a blessing at this time of your life.

Each day is new, take it in. Enjoy the little moments, sip your coffee slowly. Take a walk. Take your day off and explore a new city. Make a to-do list. Make small goals, those dreams are not dead and you can still pursue them.

When we try to make deadlines for life, we can get severely disappointed. When you fail, dust yourself off. Stop beating yourself up for the little things. You lost a day to sleep and binge-watching an old show? So what!? Take the next day and cross something off that to-do list. Give yourself credit for those things and keep going!

You will make mistakes, you will fail, you will get hurt and you will find yourself stuck. Keep going. Learn from those failures and mistakes and hurts. Why waste time living in resentment?  This is your now. This is your time. Try new things, new hobbies, go to places you've never been. Apply for jobs you might not want-fail at them, learn what you can from them. This is your time to grow into the adult, into the woman you want to become. This is the time you get to learn who exactly that is...


What are ways you can approach your situation with a better attitude? Can you find something, just one little thing, each day, and just say "thank you" for it? What little things can you do to make life at home easier on yourself? Can you even make it easier on your parents, you aren't alone in this struggle-remember that. They want you to succeed just as much as you do!

Find the little blessings, the things you love about home, and grow them. Create new loves and figure out what direction you want to head. Make plans, break them. Let yourself feel the disappointments, and then just keep going.

Yes, you. Keep going. Just go.


Words by Joette Orndorff| Photography by Purple Fern