You may make it through college and emerge on the other side with your dignity and a job offer intact. Or you may do what I did, which is graduate with a degree I did not want to use, living in a town I did not want to live in, and spending my time talking to people I did not want to talk to. With no discernible direction, I packed up my Target bedding and party tops and moved back in with good ol’ Mom and Dad. It felt an awful lot like the worst thing in the entire world, but now that I am safely on the other side of my greatest fear, I have some advice to offer.
Schedule an Exit Date. From the beginning, make a plan. Set a goal. Whether it be three months, a year, or three years, knowing that this is not a permanent solution will do you well. Make no excuses for yourself. You are not above waiting tables just because you graduated from college. Although, holy shit it sucks so bad.
Look Busy. Living with your parents while unemployed can be quite challenging; Full of complex and misplaced feelings (mostly guilt and self-loathing). The easiest way to minimize the bad feelings is to, at the very least, look busy. Go to the library to get on Facebook instead of doing it in your bed in your pajamas at 3 in the afternoon. Schedule lunches and coffees with friends (see step three). Eventually this fake busyness will turn into real busyness which may even result in some productiveness.
Be Prepared. To feel inadequate. Being back in your hometown, surrounded by other alumni from your high school who haven’t found work will definitely depress you. If you have never been depressed, this may take you by surprise. Do not underestimate the power of feeling inadequate. (See Allie Brosh’s Adventures in Depression)
Be Considerate. Remember that this is a readjustment for your parents as well. Clean up after yourself. Don’t take hour long showers. Don’t bring home dates. Offer to pay rent. But don’t insist too strongly if they offer a free stay. This is prime savings time, and when you are moving into your own place and transitioning into your new, fabulous position, you will need the biggest nest egg you can manage.
Regroup. After an appropriate amount of time has been spent licking your wounds, it is time to pull yourself together. You are currently surrounded by the best support system, cheerleading squad, and sounding board you could ask for! Polish up your resume, get a haircut, take your suit jacket to the dry cleaners, and take your mom or dad up on his offer to introduce you to their connection.
Wine. If all else fails, never forget that drinking a bottle of wine by yourself in your childhood bedroom while watching Disney movies in the dark is a thing and that you can do it if you want to. There is no shame it it! Well, maybe a little shame, but none that you can’t recover from.
And perhaps the most important tip of all:
Be gentle with yourself. This is one of the most vulnerable times in your life and you are not doing yourself any favors by treating yourself poorly. You are a intelligent, beautiful, and talented human and any organization would be lucky to have you! Now, go forth and make that money, just like Beyoncé taught you!
[Lead image via Ilike/Shutterstock]