Oh crap, this is real: post-graduation thoughts

It's been a little over 1 week since I've graduated with an undergraduate degree in Public Relations and Advertising.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.

I recognize that society now views me as "official adult." I'm now expected to support myself by attaining a job, climbing a corporate ladder and aiming for a luxurious retirement.

The only different between today and last week is that now I have a piece of paper that I just paid $100,000 for that tells the world that I'm ready to think for myself. Hey world, do you believe me now? Have I done enough and paid enough to acquire an ounce of praise and recognition? Have my proven myself worthy of being given a chance to aspire to something bigger? Hire me!

That's absurd. Yesterday, while wearing my alumni shirt, I ran into a cashier at a local supermarket. He asked me if I just graduated; I told him that I did, and he said he graduated from the same institution a year prior. And now here we are, both graduated and both working in customer services jobs that do not require a college degree. While this is not entirely unusual for new graduates, it does not make me feel good about my decision to attend college.

Now obviously I'm not saying I shouldn't have gone to college. In the near future, I plan on furthering my education so that I myself can teach at the collegiate level one day. In the meantime, though, I feel overwhelmed, unprepared and, to be honest, lost. Sure, it's nice not having homework. It's not something I even need to think about anymore. Other than that, though, I miss being in class. Up until this point in my life, everything has been so structured. I attended elementary and high school, and then a university. During that time, I had a lot of independence and responsibility, but everything was structured for me. I was told what to do and when to have it done by. Now, without that structure, I feel like I'm at sea. I am, in some way, experiencing the rest of my life. At least, it feels that way. From this point on, I'm working, paying bills, saving for some kind of retirement, and then on day I'll die. And it'll all be over.

That's certainly a cynical thing to say, and yet it feels accurate. This is the rest of my life...unless I do something about it.

But, for now, I'm wrestling every day to make it worthwhile. To do something of purpose. To suppress a lingering loneliness and helplessness as I look for another job.

I know I'm not alone in all of this. Not only did I just graduate with hundreds of people (and a number of them are likely feeling similarly), I have a support structure built during my years in college. Amazingly supportive professors, mentors and friends that I can confide in. This is the most tumultuous and challenging time in my life so far, but I will push on.

I better get to it.