The Post-Grad Journey: Me, Myself, and I on the Road!

[We’re following one post-grad as she grabs that diploma, packs up her college life and heads on out to the big, bad world. There’s a lot of change comin’ her way and with a cross-country drive, she’s got a lot of time to think about it….]

If you told me three months ago that I would drive across the United States to California, I would have never believed you – especially if you told me I would do it alone. Yes, I am making the journey from Georgia to Southern California alone, just me and my packed up Toyota Camry.  As I write this, I’m on day 2 of my four day trek – currently camped out in a hotel room in the middle of Texas.

“You can’t drive alone!”, “It’s not safe to drive across the country by yourself!”, and “Why would you want to drive two thousand miles alone?” were the usual responses upon telling anyone my plans.  My parents were even freaked out about me doing it. Even my dad offered to fly out to Atlanta and drive with me – and he does just about everything to avoid getting on an airplane. But to me it’s not such a big deal. This is really no different than living in New York City for the summer by myself as an intern or traveling around Europe last summer.

I’m 22, why can’t I do it by myself? Is it because I’m a woman that people are freaked out about this? Or is it because of the distance, which seems like nothing when it’s split up into nine or ten hours in a car per day? I don’t know what it is, but I’m glad to be proving everyone wrong. I’m doing it – and so far, I’m doing just fine (this is where I knock on wood).

Even though my ass is tired of driving (I will admit, it would have been nice to have someone split the time behind the wheel with me), I don’t think I would have planned this trip any other way. I picked the driving hours per day. I decided on the location to stop for the night. I am deciding when to make pit stops and where to eat. I am listening to what I want (every Backstreet Boys album in existence) and singing as loud as I want. I don’t have to worry about sharing a hotel room with anyone or becoming a Chatty Charlsie in the car (I am guilty of this, so it’s nice to just sit in my own silence for a change).  I am doing everything by myself, entirely, for the first time in a very long time. Isn’t this what my life should be like post-grad?

This is the first time since graduating college that I have actually had time for myself – to think, sit alone, and just be with me – the one person who I need to rely on most in the coming months. Who knew I was even capable of thinking after completing four years of studies? Not me, but now I have all the time in the world to think about what I want to do, where I want to go, and how I want to get there. Months prior to graduation, all I heard was that I should take time to think about all those things, but I didn’t have time to actually let anything sink in – I barely had time to get through all the motions of senior year. But when you’re driving through on a humid highway in Louisiana, there really isn’t much to think about except the things that lie ahead … such as my final destination: California and preparations for getting into law school.

Maybe people are too afraid to drive anywhere over an hour by themselves because of the silence they need to fill, but I know that this experience of road-trippin’ by myself truly has been an awakening experience that I can do things alone – something I think I forgot in college. Think about it. We all have friends, boyfriends, families, jobs, and a thousand little things to worry about – and the majority of the time, we have people around us. It’s rare to just sit in a car and drive for hours and hours to think and just do what you want. It’s kind of thrilling, even if it’s a little scary.

If I can take this trip and make it out okay (even after all the endless hours of thinking about the future and a little bit about the past) – I think I can make it out okay in California.

Or at least, I hope so.

More Friends = Better Grades
More Friends = Better Grades
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