The five of us always start off our night sitting in our living room, all the spots on the futon and the couches taken up by our laptops or my roommates cat. We’ll take turns getting up to look in the fridge and our cabinets to see what food we have for dinner that night, but just end up taking a bag of popcorn or chips back with us to the couch, and complaining about how we have no food. Finally one of us offers to drive to Trader Joe’s as long as we all contribute to cooking our fam dinner. A quick car ride and Pinterest search later and we’re all hanging out in the kitchen slamming cabinet doors in attempts to find the measuring cup.
The bottle of Pinot Grigio is sitting on the counter, just begging to be opened, but we decided to wait until our dinner was actually cooked until we started pouring glasses. The recipe for the night was going to be salmon in a garlic butter sauce. We all know fish is expensive, so it’s reserved for the night’s that we all chip in for the grocery bill! Plus this recipe has a lot of room for flexibility, even when someone (me), has a fish allergy, they can enjoy this recipe? How? Make some extra of the garlic butter sauce and throw it over some angel hair pasta and veggies!
Five minutes into getting the salmon in the oven, one of our cell phones start to buzz on the counter. It’s an email from an employer that Lilly* had sent her resume to, requesting to schedule an interview. When a look of panic glances over her face, we realize that the Pinot is not going to make it until dinner’s ready.
“Real people jobs,” and “the real world,” are terms that are thrown around constantly by everyone, everywhere.
At first, they seemed like mythical terms, things that were just made-up to scare us into handing in our homework in time, and tricking us into thinking unpaid internships were worth the six months of eating ramen every night. However, they’re not so mythical anymore.
Questions start to go our around our kitchen. “Where will we live?” “What job will I have?” “How will I make new friends?” “Will I be able to support myself?” Everyone has questions, but not a lot of us have answers to them. The anxiety that comes with going out to the real world is something that none of us have experienced before. We kinda felt it when we came to college, but we still had a sense of belonging. This is the first time that we’re being released into the world with very little sense of where it is that we’re supposed to be going.
As the level of wine in our glasses gets lower and lower, we all discuss the possibilities and opportunities that face us in the next year.
Emily is the first to graduate; she has two more months. Every time you ask her if she knows what she’s doing, she’ll tell you she hasn’t even started to apply for jobs yet, and all she knows is that she’s moving home with her mom. In a way, I’m jealous that she has somewhere to go where she’ll feel comfortable after she leaves school.
After that, I’m the next one to graduate, in March. I’m applying to a six month externship but that wouldn’t start until August (if I get accepted.) If I do get accepted, that’s awesome and I’d be so happy, but what would I do until I leave? Rent doesn’t pay itself. There’s the option of not getting accepted, too, and then I’ll have to figure out what to do and where to go instead but I’m not gonna think about that. Mostly just because I don’t have any possible answers.
Everyone else is done in June, the normal time of graduation at my school. Grace is a nurse, so she won’t have any problem getting a job wherever she wants. Lilly has had three interviews so far, and more lined up. Katie is applying to grad school, even though every time she goes to work on her applications she questions why she is going to put herself through even more schooling after five years of undergrad.
We don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe we never fully will, but for right now, we’re doing alright.
We’ll just take it day by day, and enjoy every minute that’s left of our college careers. We’ll drink wine with our roommates at night and watch Shameless every Sunday night after chapter meetings, and enjoy this salmon dinner that we just cooked.