“80% of my friends change after college in their first year of full-time job”

“80% of my friends change after college in their first year of full-time job”, a friend said.

For better or worse?

“Subjective to judge. For the worse I’d say.”

Really? That gives me a chill in this time of the year when graduation is around the corner and everyone is squeezing out every single second with their friends. Well…don’t panic. That is just one guy saying his experiences. I’m sure there are plenty of variations. But still, change is probably necessary, whether in order to formalize a new budget plan (and actually sticking to it) or maintaining a different lifestyle.  

“Well. But sometimes people did not really change. It’s just that we didn’t see their complete or various selfs. We see only part of it and when the other parts reveal themselves, our biases tell us that they have changed. Most often for the worse”, another friend commented. As much as my emotion tells me to counter that, my rational side tells me that there is truth to it. Yet, there is certain excitement to see how people will change, for both better and worse, after graduation. Will that girl become an international human rights lawyer one day? Will that guy reform the Singaporean educational system one day? Will that friend really open up her own gallery one day?

These questions ring in my ears as I hear great news from couple of my friends about graduate school applications and job search. It’s exciting to think about that but it’s also clear that we won’t have a GPA anymore. There is no such thing as GPA for life. No first honors. No honors with distinction. No dean list. Not even that ribbon for “most enthusiastic participation”. There is only us and the people around us. We can choose to either look for motivation externally (peer competition, salary raise, promotions) or internally (experience of flow, enjoyment, sense of possibility, passion)

So I guess that is like senior second semester when senioritis kicks in (sorry, I got caught too). We all somehow get the idea of “before” and “after” graduation for our senior last semester. “Before” lives in the college life and “after” in the “real-world”. Yet, reflecting on this, it seems that the “freedom” we have in last semester of college is simply a prelude to the accountability we will have on ourselves after graduation.

So? Goodbye, napping, TV shows, spontaneous outings, and daydreaming. Time to set this straight.

One thought to ““80% of my friends change after college in their first year of full-time job””

  1. Hey Gabrielle,

    Wow – so much in this blog post that I relate to. First, its funny because, if you read through the rest of the blog posts this evening, they all have something to do with graduation/senioritis/the like…it seems as though we are all the same page around this time of year. Like you (and others on this blog) said, we all have started comparing this life to “the next life” – what will that life be like? What will my job be like? My friends be like? What will I be like? There are so many unknowns that we are trying so desperately to answer but with no luck because, quite obviously, we cannot predict the future. After four years of establishing this routine at this university, we are venturing out and changing it up. We are turning our lives upside down once again. Exciting? Definitely. Nerve-racking? Even more so.
    I think your question of how we change after college also plays into these nerves (and also plays into my capstone project quite wonderfully). We know ourselves for who we are right now, in this place, with these people. We know ourselves with these pressures (school, GPA, etc.) acting upon us, but it is extremely difficult to predict how we will respond to new pressures (like you said – external and internal). It is almost like we have a well-established U of M persona, but once we step outside the four walls of this institution, its up for remodel. This leads directly to a fresh set of nerves for any graduate about to face the “real world.”
    When your friend said that most change for the worse, that didn’t really surprise me. I think it is difficult for people to accept that those from their past have changed because it means that their past is really indeed in the past. In my opinion, this commonly results in a negative view of all changes, when in reality, the one who changed could be proud/excited/etc. about their change. And if they are not happy about their change, maybe they need to re-think that change itself and make another change, a more positive change. Although we are graduating and napping, tv shows, and Tuesday night outs are going to be much more of a rarity, the optimist in me refuses to believe that this is the end of all happiness as we know it (a little dramatic, yes).
    I have to believe that those who are unhappy after college (unless extenuating circumstances are present) are unhappy because of the changes they have chosen and are currently choosing to make. We can still make time for spontaneous outings and daydreaming, just not quite as frequently 🙂

    Thanks for posting!


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