So I graduated from New York University recently, and six months ago today, I started my first day of work as a Digital Content Producer with TEGNA in Washington, DC. That's right, I've been a working adult for SIX MONTHS.
So I guess you could say a blog update is long overdue.
The past six months have felt incredibly short at times, and never-ending at others. No amount of late nights googling "how to make friends after college" could have prepared me for post-grad life. There was a lot of loneliness and a lot of stress, but, after six months, I think I'm finally beginning to get a hang of it. Here are some lessons I've learned along the way:
1. It's going to be lonely, but it's going to be ok.
I ended up moving into a studio apartment in D.C. because I was nervous about moving in with people I barely knew. I lived alone in college in a big RA single, so I figured it wouldn't be any different. I was wrong.
The one thing I miss the most about college is being able to make spontaneous plans. I miss being able to text someone when I'm distressed and have them be at my apartment within 20 minutes, junk food in hand, ready to binge watch whatever show I'm currently obsessed with and cry with me. There hasn't been anything worse about my move so far than feeling upset and realizing I have to deal with it alone. But I've survived, and I'm still here. Aside from realizing that I'm stronger than I think, sometimes I revel in the loneliness. I can spend a whole day inside, reading or watching TV, and no one will judge me!
2. You're not going to make friends without getting a little uncomfortable
I joined Meetup in an attempt to find people with similar interests to hang out with. The website was thrilling, and there were so many fun events planned by people just like me. I joined several groups dedicated to introverts hanging out, to board games, and geeky activities. I RSVP'ed to movie nights, potlucks, and book club meetings.
It took me two months to actually show up to an event.
The thought of showing up to one of these events alone paralyzed me, but at the same time every time the weekend rolled around I felt anxious. Why don't I have anyone to make plans with?
I ended up showing up to a board game cafe by myself and I met some wonderful people who I still hang out with today. We've gone to shows together, played games at each other's apartments, and even celebrated Friendsgiving together. I want to make new friends outside of my group, and I can already feel myself getting uncomfortable at the thought of meeting someone new that's not them, but that's what you have to do.
3. If you weren't doing it before, you're probably not going to start now
I told myself that once I wasn't working two jobs and studying four different subjects I would get my life together. I'd read more and go to the gym, and meal prep. I would finally lose the 15 lbs I gained from all the free food events on campus!
That's easier said than done after four years of bad habits. I was still eating junk, I wasn't exercising nearly as often as I admitted, and I still spent most of my free time on Netflix.
It's not impossible to do all the things you said you would if you only had more free time, but not having free time is not the only factor to consider. Take it one day at a time.
4. Keeping up with friends is incredibly difficult. Don't neglect it.
One of my favorite tweets says "Adult friendship is two people saying 'I haven't seen you in forever, we should meet up more' over and over again until one of you dies.'" For a while, I was only catching up with friends because I was feeling emotional or stressed and I needed someone to talk to. That's admittedly not healthy behavior, and my friends deserve more than that. I've found myself cherishing my friendships more and more, and it's important to put in the work to catch up, even if nothing's wrong. If you made it this far into this blog post, text your friends! Ask them for their life updates. Schedule some time to Skype, or Facetime. You'll thank me, I promise.
I've got a lot more learning to do as I continue to make D.C feel like home. Hopefully I'll share those with you in a few more months.