Post-grad millennial life – or what I miss most about college

Lauren Yanow

It finally hit me.

I am not going back to college.

Everyone told me this would happen, but I figured I had adjusted well to post-grad life and might not even notice.

This summer felt like every other summer I’ve had for the last four years. I got an internship and was working on building my resume, instead of building my tan.

Nothing seemed different or out of the ordinary.

Of course, my diploma arrived and the photos of me in a cap and gown were on Facebook. But it just didn’t seem real. My internship became a full-time job and I now have entered the lifestyle of working 40 hours a week.

Now, I see pictures of younger friends attending tailgates and hanging out at my favorite college town bar.

I’m not there.

Instead, I am living the post-grad life back in Chicago.

Here is what I miss the most:

1.     Sleeping

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I always chose classes based on what time of day they were offered. There is a reason I never had a class before 10 am. Oh, and naps. I miss them, too.

2.     Walking

Walking around my college campus to get to class was the most aerobic activity I did over the last four years. Now, I just take the elevator downstairs to get lunch.

3.     Weekends starting on Thursday

Enough said.

4.     Free stuff

My closet is stuffed with free T-shirts I collected in college. Now that I’m a professional, I need to make room for some blouses.

5.     Cheap drinks

Living in Chicago is not cheap. And neither are the beers. In my college town, you could get a full price beer for $3, but now I am lucky to find one under $6. Oh, well. Guess that’s what my paycheck is for.

What do you miss about your college?

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Where will you be in five years?

Lauren Yanow

When I got home from work yesterday, there was a letter on my bed.

It was from me.

The return address read Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where I graduated from in 2007.

I ripped open the envelope and found a typed letter in my favorite century gothic font. The date in the upper right corner said August 22, 2006.

Lauren,

Today is the second day of your senior year of high school. Congratulations.

As I continued to read, I realized this was a letter I wrote to myself in my senior year creative writing class.

The assignment was to write yourself a letter, put it in a sealed envelope, and write your parents’ home address on the front.

I opened mine to find a meaningful and funny letter to myself. I wrote about my passions, friends, family, goals, and dreams. But the last paragraph stood out the most.

When you were 17, you hoped that in 5 years you would be done with college and either looking for a job or hopefully already have one lined up. If you are lucky enough, you have already landed a job with a fashion magazine working with layouts because when you were 17 that’s the only thing you could have imagined yourself doing. If not, keep working at it. You know what you are good at and you should inspire to do whatever your heart desires. Good luck with your future endeavors.

OK, OK, so I’m not working at a fashion magazine, but it’s safe to say that I work at a job worth dreaming about.

When I wrote that letter five years ago, the economy was better. There was no reason to think I wouldn’t have a job right of college. Reading it now, I realize what an accomplishment it is to have a job two months after graduation.

So, what did I learn from reading my letter?

Setting goals is important. But what’s even better is being able to look back and realize you accomplished the goals you set for yourself. Now, five years later, I’m getting ready to write myself another letter.

I hope that 27-year-old Lauren enjoys it as much as 22-year-old Lauren enjoyed this one.