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Justine Kay Headshot

My Post-Grad Life

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One week. One week ago, I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to work for the firm that has hired me many times -- three to be exact -- in the past as an intern and a temp, and now as a full-time employee. Finally I was on my way to being a working girl. I had a notebook, a planner, a fabulous outfit, and my favorite perfume, and I was ready for the working world. My first day began at 11, which was nice; they gave me a two and a half day break from having graduated that Sunday.

On the train was when I realized: Hannah isn't here. Ronald isn't here. No one was there for me to borrow a pen from, or to shop for outfits with -- to integrate the perfect pops of spring color into my corporate Barbie wardrobe -- or help me do my hair, except for my parents -- who are amazing, but are no replacement for my best friends.

I held back the tears and went full-force power girl, for a great first day, but this "post-grad into the working world feeling" is not so good. I've had knots in my stomach ever since; my backbone was gone. My roommates who I loved dearly, my friends who I think of and yearn for at every thumping beat of Levels by Avicii -- the soundtrack for my walk to the train station, as well as a staple in our previous pre-gaming sessions -- are no longer going on the same journey as I, so present as they were when we were in school, every step of the way. There are some good things about post-grad life; specifically the absence of homework and the extreme increase in pay (if one is lucky enough to snag a paying job). But nothing can replace the memories that were built during those crucial four years; the foundation for the stories we'll tell, and the source of our laughter today. When I entered work on that first day, I was quickly wined and dined (well, not so much the wined part; that's another aspect of college that will be dearly missed) and quickly thrown into meeting after meeting, training session after training session with patient, wonderful supervisors who were in as much disbelief as I that a 22 year-old tumbled into the working world just three days after graduating.

Of course I know how lucky I am to even have a job; and I appreciate every day that I can get on a train and go to an office where the people are amazingly nice, teach me new skills, and I work with a stimulating medium. Many of my peers are without jobs, wondering where they will stand not years but days from now; whether they are planning their next backpacking trip or applying to the umpteenth job, submitting their resume into this supernova we call the Internet.

Graduating and the days leading up to it is like being on a treadmill, full speed; the treadmill of fun. You appreciate every moment you have with your friends, you barely study for your finals -- and somehow manage to pass -- you are only thinking about the next night out and the next drink you'll have. That treadmill is on the highest speed, you're running as fast as you can and your adrenaline is pumping, and all of the sudden this treadmill will stop in 1, 2, 3: STOP. The treadmill halts. And you find yourself back in your old room, staring at the ceiling -- when you should be laying outside on the grass, day-drinking as you do in May -- wondering how this next chapter of your life will start.