An Almost Post Grad Life: Grad School

A huge part of why I originally started this blog was for the intended purpose of others to be able to share their thoughts and experiences associated with post-grad life, not just my own.

I’ve recently been collecting statements, anecdotes and opinions of other 20somethings floating around adulthood to showcase how even though we all live different lives, the similarities we face as millennials are startlingly similar.

I selected people based on different demographics including age, sex, employment, fields of study, line of work and geographical region. This post will be the first of many in a mini series and I’m excited to share with all of you my findings as well as my thoughts! Enjoy.


Jill is currently a Speech Pathology Graduate student at The University of Pittsburgh with only three short months until graduation. When reflecting on her time in grad school, as well as undergrad, she came to a bizarre realization that once she completes this degree, she’ll have spent a total of twenty years as a student. She says, “it’s exciting but also very daunting to think about finally entering the real world.”

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A question I posed to all of my participants surrounds the idea of identifying what continually stresses them out, both personally and professionally. For Jill, she thinks that “there is always still a part of me that feels I need to prove that I deserve to be in the same place as my classmates, and that I am smart and good at what we are all there to do.” She continues to land on a point that I think is an important for anyone, not only students, which is that of “it’s hard to keep reminding myself that as a student, I can and will make mistakes.” No one is perfect, though we often try to be, it’s impossible.

Another thing, that I can very much relate to, that stresses her out is the dating life. As you may have read in my previous post, being in single has its ups and downs. Jill comments, “Dating  can and should be fun and exciting, but anyone who’s been where I have knows that’s not always the case.”

A common theme in most adults lives, primarily those in early adulthood, is the mundane routines we face Monday through Friday. I asked Jill if there are any frustrations she feels are recurring and she plainly states that it’s the repetition of it all; “I go to clinic, go to class, go home, go to bed, and do it all again the next day.” She attributes going out on the weekends with friends as a break from it all and why it’s crucial to do so.

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Although undergrad was only a few short years ago, we often reflect and realize how our thoughts and opinions have changed drastically in that tight time frame. There are definitely things I regret doing and not doing in college, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, and unfortunately since we cannot change the past, maybe we can help those in the future through advice. Jill remarks that her regret is not studying abroad while having the opportunity to, and her reasoning behind it was “I didn’t want to miss a whole semester at college with all my friends” and admittedly adds, “and looking back that was a really young and dumb idea.”

In addition to dishing out advice, Jill also adds “not to stress about getting a job right away. You have your whole life to work and rushing it will just stress you out and you’ll probably end up at a job you don’t even like. If you decide to live at home and don’t get that dream job right away, do not let yourself or other people make you feel like you are any less because of it. We all know how annoying that question of ‘what are you doing now?‘ gets from the insignificant talk that is unfortunately unavoidable.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Finally, I asked Jill to provide quotes that inspire or motivate her and among them, as it fits well with the central theme of my blog, I chose this one to leave here. “Life is 10% what happens to you…and 90% is how you react to it.

Jill concludes by saying, “Do what makes you happy and feel good abut where you are in your life, and not what you feel like you have to do or should be doing compared to or based off of other people’s standards.”

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The Pros and Cons of Being Single in your 20s

With some people, being single sometimes has a negative connotation, and in some situations? Sure, that’s fair. Like when you go home with that creepy/not so hot/desperate guy from the bar because, let’s face it, you’ve been on a dry spell and you’re 4 shots deep. Or you consistently have to RSVP for one to every wedding you’re invited to with a plus one because you’re still not in a serious enough relationship to commit to bring a guest, and the person you’ve been non-exclusive with  has also been non-exclusive with several other people.

BUT, aside from the drawbacks of being single, there are a lot of positive aspects as well. Here’s my list:

PROS:

  • Being more independent
    • Not that you can’t be independent with a significant other, it’s just more probable that you have to be independent while single. Actually, it’s kind of forced upon you. Sometimes your friends and family aren’t always around to do certain things and you conform to a lifestyle of only relying on yourself for company or a good time, which can be fundamental for various situations in life. Independence is good.
  • Time with friends
    • Let’s be honest, you’re going to have more time for your friends when you’re single. You’re more than likely more inclined to go out and get drunk with your friends on the weekends, there’s no decision making between his or her group of friends, and when you wake up hungover in the morning, you go get drunk again with your friends. In contrast, when you’re in a relationship, things can be a bit different; the decision to stay in on the weekends is definitely easier because you have someone to stay in with, which is fair, but you also now have two different friend groups and two families to divide free time with, which ultimately decreases the time you would usually dedicate to friends. I’m just gonna say it- I think people have more of an appreciation for their friends when you’re single.
  • Your focus is sharpened
    • Your focus on things in general, but also your focus on you and only you, is sharpened to the clearest point. You have yourself to look out for, so your discovery of self-love reaches its highest point, which is daunting. You have more time to focus on being a better version of yourself, more focus on your career and goals, and more focus on anything, really. Relationships can sometimes be distracting between jealousies and disagreements, and being single allows you to be more selfish which I think is more than acceptable in your 20s.
  • Meeting and experiencing new or different people
    • Of course you can meet new people while in a relationship, but you have to admit it’s more difficult. There are boundaries and lines you have to be conscious of, certain plans you can’t commit to, and there’s an awareness of which conversations are acceptable or not. It’s much easier to meet new people when single. Also, being able to experience new people, not just  strictly in a sexual way, but in a friendly manner, is definitely rewarding and beneficial in early adulthood.
  • No bullshit
    • There’s no perfect relationship, that’s common knowledge. But sometimes while listening to my friends bitch about the dumb things their boyfriends did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, all I can think is “wow, I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with this bullshit.”

With all that being said, I’m sure there are a lot of people thinking I have it all wrong, especially those in relationships, but let me stop you there. There are also a lot of cons to this lifestyles as well.

Cons:

  • Not having plans
    • When you’re only other single friend has plans without you, you may as well just stay on your couch all night, find something to watch on Netflix, and order a pizza because more than likely, you won’t have any other plans. All your other friends are either staying in with their boyfriends or going out with their friends or families. Buzz kill.
  • Constantly dodging questions regarding your relationship status
    • “So, are you dating anyone?” No, mom, and the answer hasn’t changed since you last asked me just a few short weeks ago. Maybe it’s a generational thing since most of our parents were probably married, or at least dating each other at our age, that they find it so abnormal when we’re not on the verge of marriage and babies. But yeah, the question get very old, very quick.
  • Dry spells
    • As nice as it is to have the ability to spontaneously make out with different people, the opportunity doesn’t always occur and there are periods of time when you almost convince yourself you’re a virgin because it’s been so long since you’ve had sex. Inappropriate? Sure. False? Hell no.
  • Wanting to go out but also wanting to stay in
    • It’s so hard to force yourself to sit in on a Friday or Saturday night if you’re not working or have no one else to spend the night with. Sometimes, there’s nothing I want more than to just stay in and watch TV or read, but then the creeping voice inside my head that calls me a loser speaks up and I force myself to go out because society makes me feel pressured to do so. But, when you have a significant other, you can silence these pressures and have someone to cuddle up on the couch with.
  • ‘Ms. Megan Keough accepts with pleasure.. and I’ll take the chicken’
    • As I touched on briefly in my opening, it does become a tad depressing when you have no one to bring as your date to a wedding when you’re invited with a guest. I don’t want to bring just anyone and I won’t, but I guess it would be nice to be able to invite someone so I could get both the fish and the chicken. And also not be the reason there’s an odd number of people at the table…

So, there’s a lot of ifs and buts, pros and cons, and probably a lot of arguments surrounding these points. But either way, cheers to all you single people and cheers to all of you in relationships!