I’ve spent the last few days in a 20 year-old boy’s apartment. Beer pong, 4 roommates, chili-lime burgers and the waft of not-quite-clean floors. I’m up in Santa Cruz and I’m having a lovely time with my boyfriend and his friends. There is a slight age gap between he and I, 3 years. It is the kind of gap that doesn’t mean much, but at times is noticeable. I’m 23 and I graduated college a year and a half ago, which means I’ve already lived beer pong, 4 roommates and not-so-clean-everything. It is always nice to visit here, but at the end of the day, it is not my college experience anymore. Lingering in the back of my mind is that remembrance of the anticipation, disappointment and emptiness that seems to be plaguing almost everyone post-college.
When The Hunger Games came out in theaters, I saw it a couple of times. On one occasion, I took my mother. Post-apocalyptic movies really bother her, I’ve noticed. I remember thinking it was weird how put-off both my parents were by Pixar’s Wall-E. Something about hit too close to home, they said. My mother liked The Hunger Games but she was quiet after the movie. Finally she said; “Is that how you feel?” I didn’t understand, so she pressed forward. “Is that how you kids feel? That my generation and the one before left this mess for you to deal with?”
She was talking about the social and economic state our country and world is in. And yes, I think she was right – The Hunger Games in some way does represent how our generation feels. From the take over of reality television, to fondness of brutal spectacle – it hits close to home. But I think mostly, now that I’m out of college, I’m really starting to understand what a mess the economy is.
Since graduating college I’ve worked as a sale associate, an assistant script writer, and an au pair for a special needs child. At least, that is what my resume says. Translation: I’ve worked as a minion for a department store, got some extra work from my dad, and was a glorified babysitter. Yikes. Twelve thousand dollars in student loans and a BA in creative writing sure don’t buy you much.
I don’t think I appreciated college much when I was in it. When I graduated, I declared to my parents I needed a “break” and a “reward” for graduating. Where was my all expense paid trip to Europe? My new car? They laughed. “We’re well off and wealthy in all the beautiful sense of the word – but we don’t have the money to buy you a car or send you on vacation. Wake up! You just had a 4 year vacation – it was called college. Welcome to the real world.”
Now I laugh when my friends who have just graduated make the same demands I did. Their parents laugh too and tell them the same thing my folks told me. College was a real privilege.
But what do we do now? Where do we go? What do we pursue? Internships that pay nothing for free labor? Sales associates and glorified babysitters? I wish I had some all knowing answer or something to make this reflection less bleak-sounding. But I don’t…
Well, maybe I do. My first goal out of college was to start a blog, and low and behold, you are looking at it. I also wanted to create a good group of friends and fellow artists back home in Los Angeles which I am proud to say can also check off my list. I may not be as far along in my ‘career’ as I expected to be by now, and I may not be any further in a year, but I’m certainly pecking away, and trying not to get too disheartened by the whole ordeal. After all, I’m only 23.