This is the first winter I have spent at home since I was in high school and, as my shoveling work piles higher and higher, I think I’m getting closer to accepting that I’ll be spending most of the coming winters at home (whether that be my parents home or in my future one). Well, I suppose that’s not including the ones I spend at graduate school or, if I become one of those so-called “snowbirds” when I get really old, the ones I spend in Florida.
Since July, I’ve been making the awkward mistake of prefacing anything that took place since I graduated as “earlier this summer.” Earlier this summer, I worked as an intern. Earlier this summer, I traveled to Denver. Okay those work. But, earlier this summer, I baked pumpkin bread for our Thanksgiving dinner? Not so much. This post-graduation time feels like an alternate reality in which I’m neither in school nor out of school, living at home, but might be moving out soon, and I guess the only word that I can find to describe such a limbo is, “summer.”
But now, since there is almost a foot of snow on the ground and I’m wrapped in a scarf, a hoodie, and a quilt, summer is long gone. So how does a college graduate come to terms with the transition period that will probably span the next few years of her life? Here is my survival guide so far:
1) Avoid sentences like, “Once I move out of the house, I’ll learn to cook more types of food.” The job, the new apartment, the future hometown are all in flux right now, so if you want to learn how to cook, or join a gym, or reorganize your room, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it now.
2) Explore the opportunities for young professionals in your community. Just because college is over does not mean that clubs are too. There are tons of neat organizations to join and events to attend, many of which are organized by museums or public libraries.
3) Do not give up the hobbies that you had in college. Yes, life gets hectic, especially when you are working all day and get tired at night. But in most cases, a short free-write or an hour spent reading a book will leave you more energized than if you were to come home and veg out in front of the tv.
4) Try to mix up your schedule every so often so as not to become a burnt out working world-er. So far, I’ve attempted this by (a) giving up coffee for a few weeks. I wanted to see whether I would feel any less jittery if I switched over to tea. And I did. But then coffee percolated back into my life, and I am an addict again. (b) keeping my nails painted and changing the color every couple of weeks (c) changing the background of my computer based on my mood and (d) making frequent mix tapes for the car. Okay this last one was brought on because my radio and ipod connector stopped working, but it is nice to have a mix tape that corresponds with every few weeks of your life.
5) Get outside on your lunch break and explore the area around your office (or around your home, if you work from home/are still unemployed). Check out the cafes, boutiques, used bookstores, whatever else interests you. Try and take a new route every day.
So, all you recent graduates, arm yourselves with these suggestions as you march into 2011, and let me know whether you’ve got any tactics of your own to add to the list. I’m off to get some rest and prepare my snow-shoveling muscles for tomorrow morning.