College Woes: Reflecting on My College Experience as a Post-Grad

College life depicted in TV shows, movies, and advertisements make it seem like a bit of a party with some studying, thesis papers, and tests thrown in. But this was far from the truth when I went to college. I went to Albertus Magnus College in January 2013 and graduated May 2017.

After four years, all I truly remember is vague nostalgia, struggling to achieve a proper work-life balance, and listening to 101.3 on my way to class in the mornings and 93.7 on my way to work in the evenings. Seldom did I hear of dorm parties or attend campus events, stuck as I was in the cycle of home-class-work-home. Being a commuter who worked part-time and went to school full-time didn’t leave me with a whole lot of interesting memories or accomplishments. I had to balance between work and school, as numerous students do, and when it came to internships, volunteering, or campus events, work always won.

When I think about it now, over a year after being out of school, my routine was isolating. Because I had a forty-minute commute each way, I didn’t linger after my last class of the day because I didn’t have the luxury. I trotted down the three flights of stairs and out to my car, ready to head off to work. Whatever time I spent on campus was in between classes. And, depending on the semester, I had quite a bit of free time, usually around one to three hours. That should have been plenty of time to attend events and volunteer, right? Volunteer: yes. Attend events: no. Events were almost always held in the evenings or on weekends when I had to, say it with me, work.

But these breaks I did have between classes were not spent volunteering; they were spent reading. There isn’t an insane amount of studying required for a Bachelor’s in English. But there is an insane amount of reading (and, ironically, not enough writing). Oh, yes. A novel within a week or two, which High School Cat would have loved, but stressed, tired College Cat didn’t appreciate the work so much. So, somewhere in the vortex of sleep, work, class, and assignments, I lost out on actually enjoying college and experiences like volunteering, internships, making connections, and going to events and maybe the odd party or two.

The social and intellectual growth that I feel I’ve made now, as a graduate, is what I sorely wish I had made while in college. After all, isn’t that an important part of the secondary school experience?

So, during the last weeks of my college career, I didn’t feel elation about freedom or excitement about starting a new chapter of my life; instead, I felt dread. I felt lost. Post graduation, I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel like an accomplished adult working on her career. I feel like a dazed, ex-college student, handed a degree that she didn’t feel she earned. With no volunteer or internship experience and stuck at a pharmacy job that I didn’t care for, I hardly believe that I attended college for four years and graduated. I feel like a post-grad dropout.

These days, I find myself wishing to go back and experience college all over again, perhaps as a resident instead of a commuter. This isn’t to say that commuters don’t have opportunities to connect with their communities and build their college careers, but residents have the benefit of being on campus all semester long. Resident students often work on campus or close by and don’t have to travel far for the majority of campus events. So, immersion in college culture is easier for residents than it is for commuters.

However, I have no illusions that I am blameless for the heights of success that I didn’t achieve as a college student. There were plenty of opportunities that I missed to check out a stand-up comedy event or a college play or work at the Writing Center to gain experience as an editor. But it paid more to work elsewhere. My degree was funded on my own dime, and books, transportation, food, clothing, and other expenses were my concern. If anyone comes to Connecticut looking for work, retail, health care, and the food industry are where the majority of the jobs lie. For a high school graduate, the healthcare industry was the highest paying sector and pharmacy was the easiest in that I had.

But, perhaps if I was immersed in college life as a resident, I would have focused more on my future career instead of bills and financial woes.

At the time, my financial straits were more important than securing a career in the future. Pharmacy became a safety net so I wouldn’t have to try and fail to establish myself in the literary world. Pharmacy technicians only have to obey the laws of their field and follow readily given knowledge about medications in order to properly dispense them. But to be a writer, one has to prove themselves and hone their skills, whether hunting for a niche or pushing every publisher to accept their landmark story. Writers have to build a place for themselves in the world.

Finally, by the end of my college career, I didn’t feel that I had the adequate tools to build my spot in the world of writers: diligence, patience, self-confidence, and, of course, writing tools. After college, I was asking myself the wrong questions. What do I have to show for earning my Bachelor’s? Was it all worth the loan debt? Should I have gone to school? Should I earn my Master’s if not to buy myself more time? All terrifying things for a post-grad to think. Instead, I should have been asking myself about deadlines for finishing my novel and poetry book. I should have been asking myself which job positions are best or how many writing gigs I will apply for today. I should have been asking which writing job best fits my lifestyle, how many more words until I finish this piece for a contest entry, or when a lit magazine is accepting submissions.

A year later, and all of those self-deprecating, anxiety-inducing questions earned me was an additional year of hiding from my desired field of work. I didn’t cultivate my craft during college, a series of choices I am sorely regretting. But, this isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the beginning. Joining Mindfray as a contributing writer was the first step in the right direction. Despite the squandered years, there is more time still for me to revise myself and become the writer that I sorely desire to be.



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I'm from New Jersey but moved to Pennsylvania, and then to Connecticut, so I feel most at home in woodsy, mountainous places. A lot of my writing takes place in such areas as well. I've been writing since 3rd or 4th grade, when my teachers would have us make up stories and doodle up characters. I have a lot of passions and reflections about life that I love to mix into my work; some of those passions are social change, sci-fi, fantasy, technology, culture, animals, and traveling.

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College Woes: Reflecting on My College Experience as a Post-Grad

College life depicted in TV shows, movies, and advertisements make it seem like a bit of a party with some studying, thesis papers, and tests thrown in. But this was far from the truth when I went to college. I went to Albertus Magnus College in January 2013 and graduated May 2017.

After four years, all I truly remember is vague nostalgia, struggling to achieve a proper work-life balance, and listening to 101.3 on my way to class in the mornings and 93.7 on my way to work in the evenings. Seldom did I hear of dorm parties or attend campus events, stuck as I was in the cycle of home-class-work-home. Being a commuter who worked part-time and went to school full-time didn’t leave me with a whole lot of interesting memories or accomplishments. I had to balance between work and school, as numerous students do, and when it came to internships, volunteering, or campus events, work always won.

When I think about it now, over a year after being out of school, my routine was isolating. Because I had a forty-minute commute each way, I didn’t linger after my last class of the day because I didn’t have the luxury. I trotted down the three flights of stairs and out to my car, ready to head off to work. Whatever time I spent on campus was in between classes. And, depending on the semester, I had quite a bit of free time, usually around one to three hours. That should have been plenty of time to attend events and volunteer, right? Volunteer: yes. Attend events: no. Events were almost always held in the evenings or on weekends when I had to, say it with me, work.

But these breaks I did have between classes were not spent volunteering; they were spent reading. There isn’t an insane amount of studying required for a Bachelor’s in English. But there is an insane amount of reading (and, ironically, not enough writing). Oh, yes. A novel within a week or two, which High School Cat would have loved, but stressed, tired College Cat didn’t appreciate the work so much. So, somewhere in the vortex of sleep, work, class, and assignments, I lost out on actually enjoying college and experiences like volunteering, internships, making connections, and going to events and maybe the odd party or two.

The social and intellectual growth that I feel I’ve made now, as a graduate, is what I sorely wish I had made while in college. After all, isn’t that an important part of the secondary school experience?

So, during the last weeks of my college career, I didn’t feel elation about freedom or excitement about starting a new chapter of my life; instead, I felt dread. I felt lost. Post graduation, I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel like an accomplished adult working on her career. I feel like a dazed, ex-college student, handed a degree that she didn’t feel she earned. With no volunteer or internship experience and stuck at a pharmacy job that I didn’t care for, I hardly believe that I attended college for four years and graduated. I feel like a post-grad dropout.

These days, I find myself wishing to go back and experience college all over again, perhaps as a resident instead of a commuter. This isn’t to say that commuters don’t have opportunities to connect with their communities and build their college careers, but residents have the benefit of being on campus all semester long. Resident students often work on campus or close by and don’t have to travel far for the majority of campus events. So, immersion in college culture is easier for residents than it is for commuters.

However, I have no illusions that I am blameless for the heights of success that I didn’t achieve as a college student. There were plenty of opportunities that I missed to check out a stand-up comedy event or a college play or work at the Writing Center to gain experience as an editor. But it paid more to work elsewhere. My degree was funded on my own dime, and books, transportation, food, clothing, and other expenses were my concern. If anyone comes to Connecticut looking for work, retail, health care, and the food industry are where the majority of the jobs lie. For a high school graduate, the healthcare industry was the highest paying sector and pharmacy was the easiest in that I had.

But, perhaps if I was immersed in college life as a resident, I would have focused more on my future career instead of bills and financial woes.

At the time, my financial straits were more important than securing a career in the future. Pharmacy became a safety net so I wouldn’t have to try and fail to establish myself in the literary world. Pharmacy technicians only have to obey the laws of their field and follow readily given knowledge about medications in order to properly dispense them. But to be a writer, one has to prove themselves and hone their skills, whether hunting for a niche or pushing every publisher to accept their landmark story. Writers have to build a place for themselves in the world.

Finally, by the end of my college career, I didn’t feel that I had the adequate tools to build my spot in the world of writers: diligence, patience, self-confidence, and, of course, writing tools. After college, I was asking myself the wrong questions. What do I have to show for earning my Bachelor’s? Was it all worth the loan debt? Should I have gone to school? Should I earn my Master’s if not to buy myself more time? All terrifying things for a post-grad to think. Instead, I should have been asking myself about deadlines for finishing my novel and poetry book. I should have been asking myself which job positions are best or how many writing gigs I will apply for today. I should have been asking which writing job best fits my lifestyle, how many more words until I finish this piece for a contest entry, or when a lit magazine is accepting submissions.

A year later, and all of those self-deprecating, anxiety-inducing questions earned me was an additional year of hiding from my desired field of work. I didn’t cultivate my craft during college, a series of choices I am sorely regretting. But, this isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the beginning. Joining Mindfray as a contributing writer was the first step in the right direction. Despite the squandered years, there is more time still for me to revise myself and become the writer that I sorely desire to be.



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