9 Thoughts About Post-College Graduate Life As Told By April Ludgate

I graduated from college in May. Most people in my life know I have an English degree, but that doesn't stop them from asking questions like, "So what do you actually plan on doing now?" Truth is, I know what I'm doing, but in a much more real sense, I have no idea what I'm doing. Post-grad life is different. It's liberating and exciting, but also a bit scary. I have long-term goals in mind, but I'm still taking it a day at a time.

I often find myself turning to April Ludgate from "Parks and Recreation" to help explain myself. Here is a glimpse into my post-grad life through her eyes.

1. There are no homework assignments hanging over my head.

There is no quiz due Sunday night. No paper I need to be writing. No research I need to be doing. No study guide I need to pretend to go over. I submitted my last homework assignments and you know what? I don't have to care about grades anymore. I'm outta there.

2. I have more free time to actually do things I like.

I can finally finish reading "Me Before You." I can go practice photography. I can write stories for contests. I can actually plan out National Novel Writing Month the way I've always wanted to. I can watch "The Greatest Showman" every day. Maybe I'll start working out like I said I was so many times. Heck, maybe I'll even rewatch "Parks and Rec." The possibilities are endless.

3. I actually have to seriously look for a full time job.

Sure, being a barista was fun. My leadership role (and my co-workers) at my restaurant job is great. It pays the bills. But I have a degree now, and I plan on using it for more than just correcting my friends' grammar. And no, I'm not going to be a teacher. Stop asking me that. Scrolling through Indeed can get tiring and feel like a full time job in and of itself, but I've found some opportunities that I hope will pan out.

4. Applying for jobs means I need to get my resume all up to date.

Ugh, no employer will want to see my email address from high school. Get that outta here. You can really tell toward the end of college when I panicked and started doing way more than I needed to. Let's space these internships out a bit.... Has it really been five years at the restaurant? What skills do I have? Is formatting on Microsoft Word a legit skill? Because let me tell you, I need help.

5. I should probably figure out a budget that doesn't include textbooks.

Or, you know, figure out a budget, like, in general. Sure, I transfer money to savings when I get paid, I keep track of rent and other bills and try not to splurge on every single trip to Target (although I'm only human and that dollar section is great). But with an income that reflects my part time, hourly job, it can be hard to stay consistent. It's time for me to actually do some math (ugh) and get this budget thing down. *opens Microsoft Excel* After I watch some Excel tutorials on YouTube.

6. I have no excuse to not keep up with normal life things.

Finals week hits and the laundry starts piling on that one chair and it looks like my life is spiraling out of control, but it's fine, it's just finals. When you graduate, you have time to do fun things, but that also means you have time to do responsible adult things too. Like folding laundry the same day it comes out of the washer and dryer, keeping up with the dishes and grocery shopping, cleaning the house on the regular and filling your car's tires with air when they need it.

7. My main group of friends changes, but that can be okay.

Friends can come and go through different seasons of life, and one of those seasons is college. Now I'm not saying I dropped my college friends as soon as I walked across that stage. But there were a few that, for whatever reason, grew apart from me over the course of my last year. I still don't get it, but I know that it's a fact of life that the people around you change depending on what stage you are in. I'm looking for a more permanent place in my life, and the important people who stick around in my life will support me in this time without me begging for them to stay.

8. My younger friends think all the stuff I like is trash.

Just let me relive my childhood by watching "Phineas and Ferb" and listening to old school Owl City and Relient K. "High School Musical" was great, fight me. I loved "Revenge of the Sith" and the "Clone Wars" movie. "The Office" was better with Michael Scott. Okay, but did you read the "Percy Jackson" books? Yeah, don't talk to me if you only saw the movies (which were trash, but that's not what we're here to discuss). "Little Big Planet" was the best platformer on PS3. Yeah, PS3. Back in my day, Netflix came in the mail!

9. "When I grow up" is now and it's happening so fast.

If there's one thing I've learned in the short time after graduating, it's that procrastination doesn't just affect my grades now. It affects my future and my goals. What's stopping me from traveling the world and doing everything I've said I always wanted to? Me. Sure, there are some logistical things to take care of, but none of that will get worked out if I don't get off my butt every morning with the goal to make things happen. It's time to break out of my comfort zone and actually live the life little 7-year-old me said I was going to live (or at least one very close to her vision).

Yeah, adulting is hard sometimes. But we all have to do it eventually. So wake up, make some coffee, text your mom and get going.


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