The commute to my father’s house was one of the longest I ever had to make after deciding that I could take no more of what life after college was doing to me. My limbs felt heavy alright but my heart was in an even worse state. Combine that with the laughing voices in my head and you have a recipe good enough for depression. However, the smell of home has always been known to heal all kinds of maladies. Here’s why I say that;
The sickening feeling of being a loser that had long created habitat at the pit of my stomach began fading away once I walked through the front door of our house. I found that very surprising since I had really dreaded having to crawl back home this way. In fact, I had expected to throw up once reality began hitting home. (Yes, believe me, when my anxiety kicks in, I fall all kinds of sick.)
My sister was the first to see me as I came through the open door and that child of my mother smiled. A big chubby smile that possibly possessed hypothetical shapely legs. It probably was the first genuine smile I had seen in days and it made me want to smile back as well as just break down onto the floor and cry like a child. It was the kind of smile that reminds you that you are finally home where you belonged long before life even thought of making a punching bag out of your back. A smile that wouldn’t falter even after it learnt that I had returned home on a badly beaten academic butt.
See, back at my single roomed house, most of the smiles were from my male neighbors, half of whom had vested interests and another half that was always borrowing something. Salt, matchsticks, a jug of water or a laptop, name it. My cousin seated on the furthest corner of the living room was eating a banana all the while giggling at stuff on her phone. Was it me or was that chic always eating bananas? She barely noticed my presence even as I made way to my bedroom. On a normal day, I’d have fussed over that. But on this particular one, I even wished the house had a backdoor so that I could slither into my room unnoticed.
I was home, finally. Resting inside a house where bills were taken care of. Home where I was assured of a meal every other time. Believe me, after some time out here, stuff that used to be real expenses e.g. mobile data become a luxury. Ok, not really a luxury but… let’s say they cease being priorities. You begin to understand why your business teacher stressed that there are only 3 basic needs. Just 3. Food shelter and clothing. Love, internet data and a comfortable mattress are good, alright but you won’t die without them.
I was home and feeling like somebody’s child again after many months of feeling like I am a child of neither the world nor my parents. After months of feeling like an adult clutching a degree in one hand and a torch in the other, groping in the dark. After eating, I drifted to sleep.
Now I do not know in which direction to steer this story from here. But I sure as hell do not wish to keep you here all day. Therefore, in summary, I did return to my place after a week. Now did I win a lottery, no? Did I get a flamboyant job out of the blues? Eeck, not really. Not sure the world works that way anyway. But the fog in my mind had cleared up and I began figuring my stuff out. Maybe the tail between my feet had been having a bad day – or a good number of bad days. But now, it and I were doing just fine. At least that is the short version of this story. However, before I leave, there are a few things you and I should deliberate upon concerning life after college.
Thing one. Dear people who tell us that we are not aggressive enough, I do not exactly like you. My feelings towards you range from anger to resentment to outright disdain. And for good reason. Because your statement is only 10% correct. Here is what I think. Employers always tell us that we were not a good fit for the job. That there was someone that was a better fit than we were. And that statement has always confused the hell out of me.
I mean, look at us and our papers, aren’t we the epitome of fitness? Both literally and figuratively. Fitness with a glowing skin as well as personality to top it off. So, please tell me, which part of the hundreds of applications I’ve sent does not fall under the category of aggressiveness? Is it the part where I do not follow up my rich uncle who asked for my CV or is it the part where I accepted an unpaid internship so that I could get the 2 years’ experience they all seem to always ask for? If anything, my mind is convinced that I pay the freaking company for that internship, in the form of fare and many other things, and boy is it expensive! So yes, you can think it, but do not say it to me during Saturday lunches at church. Please.
I’m curious though, to hear your thoughts on this issue of being told that you did not get a job because you were not a good fit. Or that someone else was a better fit than you. That if you had gotten that job anyways, the chance that you would have been discontent and unhappy at that place of work is extremely high. Is it philosophy true or do they just say these things to soothe our frayed egos?
One more thing. My problems do not only circle around my pocket and job interview or even my tail. This is what I mean. After college, I felt a bit lost spiritually. For four years my life had mostly circled around school, church, and friends from there as well. Now, suddenly I was expected to start elsewhere, make friends…be active etc. I fumbled around looking to find a church that meets my needs. God, I really moved around churches like a real spiritual pastoralist.
That is why, if you are reading this and are in your last year of college, please start scouting for a church that meets your needs in good time. Also because after graduating, you might be surprised to find yourself not as excited to attend your college church as you might have thought. Why? Because much as you still have friends there, you are at completely different stages of life now. Different priorities and problems as well. And having them always ask you if you’ve gotten a job or why you no longer attend choir practice as often as you used to will be both tiring and draining for you. Or maybe, it won’t. But that was too tiring for me. I do not blame them tough. After all, they are on the other end of the rope. They speak from what they see from their side of the rope; a jobless graduate that does not want to find a new church, get married and clear the way for them to follow. Lol.
Allow me be your wise auntie as I finish this. A job is very important, and I pray you get one soon in case you haven’t yet. A good job that tastes as sweet as the goodness of the lord. But believe me, a job will not fix everything. Look, it sure will pay bills, reduce the stress of life by a great deal and even give your skin a healthy glow, but a job is never the destination. A job will not be the end of this feeling of uselessness after college. It wasn’t for me, at least. Your happiness will have to come from within you on most days because transitioning is not easy at all. Therefore, be gentle with yourself. And always remember that the solution always lies within you. Not your rich uncle who asked for your resume or your former church members who think you are taking too long to get a job and marry.
But just in case you forget everything else I just said, remember this. When life throws you lemons in ridiculous amounts, hurl the freaking lemons back. Hurl the damn bitter round things back until life decides to call truce. It just might be the only way you will survive this phase of uselessness after college. Because sometimes, your cans overflowing with lemonade and you just cannot make any more.
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