I am closing in on my first year post-college, and I want to give some tips on how to survive your first year post-college because it can be a very daunting experience. These may not work for everyone. For example, some people in extremely rare circumstances may actually find employment after seeking it (step 3). Also, we are all on a separate journey in life, and no two people’s stories will be the same.
1) Lose your optimism. Stop pretending that your degree means something. Your diploma is simply a piece of paper letting people know that you did at least average or above average in bubbling in some scantrons or filling out some blue books (or green books for the environmentally friendly).
2) Change your dreams. Some say, “Never let your dreams die.” I say, “Let your dreams die, and find smaller, more manageable ones.” For instance, instead of dreaming of being a lawyer and buying a house, dream of being a Starbucks barista and living with your parents. That’s much more realistic (although the Starbucks thing may even be a little out of reach for most).
3) Seek employment, and apply everywhere. This may seem contradictory to steps one and two, but it isn’t. Also, If you skipped steps one and two and went into step three with optimism, then you will quickly accomplish steps one and two unintentionally. I’m obviously not saying that you should actually try to get a job because that’s clearly not going to happen. However, you need to give off the appearance of job seeking so others will have compassion.
4) Tell others how hard it is to not have a job and cry a little. Don’t cry when you are alone, that’s really pitiful. Tell someone close to you (preferably someone with lots of money) how you have applied everywhere and that no one is hiring. Work up a few tears, but not too much. Act like you are trying to hold back a flood of tears, and then regain your composure. You then will appear to be “strong” and “resilient”.
5) Accept donations. Accept all monetary (and non-monetary) gifts with an outward face of shame, guilt, and self-loathing while inwardly accepting the gifts with joy and a “gotcha!” attitude. Holding on to the “gotcha!” attitude will help you replace the hopelessness you may feel with a “You-may-have-a-job-but-I’m-still-better-than-you-because-I-pulled-the-wool-over-your-eyes” feeling.
6) Go to grad school. No, seriously.