One Year Out: When Everyone Has Their Life Figured Out (Except You)
In the first post in this series, I wrote about why moving back home is not a sign of failure. This time, we’re talking about how it feels when everyone seems to have their life figured out after college graduation—and why they don’t.
In the months leading up to college graduation, my Facebook was littered with posts from my friends and peers who had already lined up jobs. I couldn’t scroll through my feed without a humble brag or even just a flat-out brag flashing in my face. It made it seem like everyone but me knew their next step.
What I didn’t realize was that people primarily post about their successes, not their failures. Sure, every status update you see may be someone reporting that they landed their dream job or are moving to Europe, but just remember that people who are unsure of what to do next probably aren’t going to post that on social media. Facebook inflates other people’s success.
And that knowledge of success inflation is key in a world where so much of our lives take place on social media. It continues after college graduation, too. You see friends posting about their engagement or grad school acceptance or job promotion. Bloggers and social media influencers often build their brand around the idea of perfection as well. Even ‘lazy day’ photos on Instagram can be painstakingly styled until their ‘day off’ just looks like any other idyllic editorial spread.
Seeing friends and acquaintances post only about their successes compounded my insecurities about not having a clear next step. I continued comparing myself to other people. And while comparisons can create a good sense of competition, they’re not healthy if you’re comparing your highs and lows to somebody else’s highs.
After I started my new job, so many of my friends and coworkers opened up to me about their similar post-graduation struggle, but it took the comfort of job security to finally feel OK to talk about it. So if you feel like you’re sinking instead of swimming, just know that you’re not alone.