I graduated high school on time in June of 2015. I started community college in September that same year. I got my Associates of the Arts degree in June 2017 and started going to university in September that same year. I graduated from university June 2019. While I went through relationships between graduating high school and graduating college, everything else was going well!
I have a car with no payments, I have a family that loves me at home and I'm in a wonderful relationship, I got my BA from a well known university, and I graduated with no college debt! How many people can say that?
Yet I feel like I'm so far behind in life.
Almost everyone my age, give or take a year, has a job. I didn't work while in high school and my first job was a student job my senior year at university, so it ended when I graduated. So I am a college graduate with a BA and almost next to no job experience.
Most people I know have moved out and are living on their own. I still live at home with my family. Not saying one is better than the other, but moving out is a huge step in life. Some may have had a choice while other hadn't, but people my age and even people younger than I am have moved out. One of my best friends who is a year younger than I am is living in Seattle in an apartment with her friends from university.
Most people now have a family. Now, when I say I live with my family I mean I still live at home with my parents. When I say they have a family, they are living with their boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances or are even married! Some, if not most, already have at least one child or are expecting their first. My best friend who is one year older than me got married in December and someone I knew from high school that I graduated with just got married this month.
I'm 22 years old, living with my parents, and have a wonderful boyfriend.
Most 22 year old people I graduated high school with are working, moved out, and either have a kid or are expecting, married or engaged.
Someone I went to middle school with now has a daughter in school.
People I graduated high school with are traveling the world.
Everyone seems to have started their life four or more years ago and somehow I'm just now starting mine. All I have known and done is school. From age five to 22 I have been in school. 17 years. I decided that a BA was enough for me. With my degree, if I chose to go further in my education would mostly lead to teaching jobs. While teachers are awesome and needed, that's not what I want to do with my life.
I want to start my life, but I'm not sure how to do that.
School never taught me how to apply for a job, or even how to start looking. When I went to my career development center to ask for help, they told me the generalized "get on LinkedIn and look. Also, follow us!". That appointment was nothing but a joke.
I live in Washington State. According to King 5 News in 2018 a one bedroom apartment is about $1,100 a month. The current minimum wage in Washington is $12 per hour. Now, there are about four weeks in a month. An average work week for minimum wage is 40 hours. You take 40 hours and multiply it by the number of weeks in a month, you get 160 hours. Multiply those hours by the minimum wage, and you get about $1,900. Now, the $1,100 is just for the apartment. That doesn't cover food, utilities, and other expenses. And that $1,900 is if you work 40 hours every. single. week.
It's so strange seeing everyone else moving forward with their lives; finding new jobs, getting married, moving into a new place of their own. Am I doing this whole life thing wrong? Did I miss a step? Did I forget to do something? Am I just slowly moving through life? Will I ever start my life? What am I doing wrong?
I realize everyone moves at their own pace. Everyone's life is different. Not everyone goes down the same path as I do. Those who truly know me know that my path is actually drastically different from most. Maybe others feel that they are playing catch up? I have two friends that are in their mid twenties. I walked with one at graduation and the other is graduating next year. I know people who never went to college.
The education system and media push this ideal; go to college, get a job, get married, have a family. But they don't prepare you for the real world. They don't tell us the reality of life.
There are multiple paths you can take. There is no one set path fit for everyone. Everyone has their own way.
If you're like me, feeling behind in life for whatever reason, keep this in mind, the only path you need to follow is your own. Don't use other people's lives as a template for how you are living your life.
Me personally, I'm going to keep on the job hunt, living my life, loving my people, and laughing at memes.