Monday, July 7, 2008

They Didn't Teach This in College

I've been out of college for over a year now and I still can't believe how hard it is. I knew that it wouldn't be easy, but I thought it would be easier than it is. My friends and I have been reading a book called It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties and it hasn't helped me quite as much as I would have hoped. The book is broken down into five "lies" and within each lie there are several short essays from a variety of writers relating the hardships of their twenties to the reader. Most of the stories are well-written and funny; I enjoy reading them. But to say the book has truly helped me, would be another lie.

The lies dealt with in the book are as follows:
  1. I'll have an amazing apartment and love my job

  2. I'll have everything I need to live the life I've always wanted

  3. I'll know myself--and what I want

  4. I'll have satisfying relationships, great sex, and fabulous friends

  5. I'll be where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm meant to be doing

I can't say as I ever believed in any of those. I'm not saying I haven't dreamt about a cute place to live (I watched Friends for God's sake, and how cute was that apartment?!) or an awesome job (preferably one that views jeans as acceptable workplace attire) but I never thought I would have it all handed to me along with my diploma. I will say that if I haven't moderately achieved even one of these things by the time I'm 30, I'm going to be pouring a lot more money into therapy.

When I was little, I remember my mom always insisting that I go to college. "It will be easier to get a job with a college degree," she would say. And she was right, almost any job requires a college degree. However, it appears that every other mother in the nation was reciting this speech to their children because in 2008, college degrees seem to be a dime a dozen. In 2008, a college degree is the bare minimum needed to secure a position as the assistant to the secretary's secretary. If you're wanting a title with a little more prestige, you need a college degree (preferably a master's) and experience.

Experience is very big these days. I read ads for entry level jobs requiring a minimum 5 years of experience. I don't really consider that to be an "entry level" position, do you? I entered the workforce, armed with my college degree, only to learn that I have no experience. "How do I get experience?" I asked myself. And then it came to me: a job! A job will give me experience. I've figured it out: you need experience to get a job, and you need a job to get experience. It's a vicious and cruel catch-22 and I have no idea how to escape it.

The part I find hilarious is that my standards are not that high. In fact, I'd say that I've set the bar fairly low for happiness at this stage in my life. It all comes down to semantics: I'm not looking for the job or the apartment--I'm looking for a job or an apartment. Is that asking too much, universe? I don't think so.

Bottom line: I'm tired of feeling like life is passing me by, and I wish I knew how to fix that.

1 comment:

Michael Burchett said...

good to be reading something from Erin Black again, I haven't since Georgetown.

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