College was the key to everything growing up. If you wanted a decent job, you had to go to college. If you wanted to make the right connections, you had to go to college. If you didn’t want to live with your parents forever, yup – you had to go to college. Parents would threaten their kids using the bums on the streets and the cashiers behind the counters at McDonald’s as examples of what would happen if you failed to get a college degree, if you failed to join at least a dozen after-school groups and make three varsity sports teams.
Unfortunately, since everyone’s parents seemed to have been using the same threats to get their kids to go to college, the number of students enrolling dramatically increased and graduates weren’t met with all that was promised to them after their commencement concluded.
Instead, they were left with a useless piece of paper that they’d be lucky to get an unpaid internship with, and crippling student loan debt forcing them to work three part-time jobs aside from their internship. All that just so that they could move into an illegal apartment in the slums with six questionable roommates they met on Craigslist. Life after graduation hasn’t exactly turned out as you’ve expected, has it now? Well, guess what, you’re not the only one, so join the club and read on for 11 things you expected to happen but hasn’t.
11. Get A Real Job
With everyone being told you need a college degree in order to get a real job, there just aren’t enough well-paying jobs available for recent graduates. Companies take advantage of young grads by offering unpaid internships or a salary hardly comparable to one you’d receive behind that fast food counter you were warned about.
The only way you’ll ever receive a salary you might be able to live off of is when the company you work for forces their elderly employees to retire or just straight up fires anyone they feel makes too much money. Then the younger generation will slip into these positions, and receive half the pay they deserve. It seems that even with these “real jobs” sending out weekly checks, part-time gigs are still needed to pay the bills.
10. Pay Off Student Loans
It took far too long for the public to realize what a scam student loans are, and being the naive generation we are, we all thought we’d pay them back in just a few years. Who could have predicted it would be nearly impossible to find a job after graduation and that unpaid internships would become a thing. So on top of you putting your loans into forbearance during those first few years that you couldn’t find a decent job, the terms you didn’t understand when you signed those contracts for your students loans has allowed your interest to quadruple and now your loan amount has doubled and your monthly payments are more than you even make. Turns out taking out those loans might not have been the best way to fund our college education.
9. Move Out Of Mom And Dad’s
It seems every generation moved out of their parent’s house at the age of eighteen until adults started shaming their kids into debt. Now mom and dad don’t have to worry about that empty nest feeling until well into their seventies. The only chance you have of moving out is giving up on attempting to pay off your student loans, and watch your credit score plummet to numbers lower than your bank account. Which, if you think about it, really doesn’t matter because your student loans won’t allow you to make any of those big important purchases anyway, regardless of what that number says about your credit history.
8. Buy A House
Because that’s what grownups do, right? Unfortunately, hardly anyone is buying a house in their twenties anymore. At least by themselves. Younger generations are forced to buy homes with friends, move away from their families in search of cheaper real estate, or suck it up and move from one rental to the next. And that’s only if your student loans haven’t completely destroyed your credit score, in which case you should just get comfortable at mom and dad’s because the only way you’ll be owning a home is when you inherit theirs after their death.
7. Stop Eating Ramen Noodles
Without ten-page papers and midterms looming over your evenings, you probably thought you’d actually have the time to cook something nutritious after graduation. But that part- time job you had to get to supplement your student loan payments forces you to eat on the go, and shoving those Ramen noodles in the microwave before burning the roof of your mouth while scarfing them down is all you have time for between jobs. If you’re lucky, mom and dad will leave you some leftovers in the fridge for your 11 p.m. “second dinner.”
The real world doesn’t have Spring Break, and most companies don’t give new employees vacation time, so even if by some miracle your bank account might allow you to take some time off, your employer surely won’t. Perhaps you’ll be able to swing a weekend away here or there, but kiss your dreams of backpacking through Europe for three months goodbye. Since college drained your savings and your student loan lender calls every hour to demand payment, unless you’re willing to live with your parents a few extra years, travel is out of the question for a while.
5. Get In Shape
In college you stayed remotely active, if party hopping from one frat house to another each weekend counts. Maybe you gained the “Freshman Fifteen” from all the boozing you did, but you figured the weight would just slide off after graduation. Those first few weeks home you spent your time catching up with old friends and hitting the bars, so it took a while to get yourself to the gym, but you did it. The weight starts coming off, and then you get a 9-5 office job. Every three or four days it’s someone’s birthday, which is celebrated with a cake. Then each Friday, the office buys everyone breakfast, which includes bagels, bacon, eggs, and home fries. It was only a matter of time before your lack of exercise and overeating caught up with you, and now your freshman fifteen has doubled.
4. Stop Drinking During The Week
You’re an adult now and adults don’t drink during the week, right? Wrong! Adults drink much more! In fact, most of your adult paycheck goes towards booze. Happy hours and weekends out become the only highlight of your week, and hangovers at the office become a regular occurrence. You still have “Thirsty Thursdays” and “Taco Tuesdays,” but instead of your college buddies sitting on the bar stool next of you, your coworkers will be by your side filling you in on the latest office gossip.
3. Have Adult Friends
In your teenage years you view those in their mid-twenties wearing their casual business suits on the subway heading to work, and you think, now that’s an adult. You think they have dinner parties and invite their friends over for wine and cheese. Then a few years later it’s you on the subway walking in your business suit, walking to work, texting your friends about your night before and complaining about your father’s snoring keeping you up half the night. College graduation and your first real job won’t suddenly transform you into a responsible adult who doesn’t fantasize about throwing your boss over your desk every once and a while; and your friends are no different, regardless of the BS they post on Facebook.
2. Get Married And Have Kids
It’s the ultimate happily ever after you’re all going for, except…you’re the first generation who isn’t. For the first time in history, no one’s rushing for the altar. Both men and women are pushing off making the leap into responsibility and focusing on careers or hobbies or pretty much anything else. Online dating has encouraged people to move on to the next fling and has trained users to think there’s always something better out there. And with those in their twenties drowning in debt, getting married, starting a family, and the possibility of divorce just sounds like more bills to pay.
1. Ditch The Roommates
After four years of sharing your space with practical strangers and memorizing their class schedules in order to get in some alone time, there’s nothing better than going back to mom and dad’s to your own bedroom. So, when you’re set to move out, the last thing you expect to need is a roommate. But with student loans weighing you down and parents who are driving you mad, you’ll find yourself hitting up your old pals to help you find a roommate sooner than you expected. And when all else fails, there’s always Craigslist!