It's been 9 months since I entered the so-called ~real world~ after coming back from my internship in Haiti. I am not quite sure whether the timeframe is a coincidence OR life's clever way of telling me that my youth has died and I have been reborn as a 9-to-5 replicant. Either way, allow me to paraphrase the 90's best young adult angst film, and proclaim: post-graduation blues (PGB) bites!
As I have expressed in previous posts, I was able to delay my PGB blues by leaving Toronto as soon as I finished my degree in May 2012 to go chill and work abroad. Much like death PGB finally caught up to me, as soon as I got back to Canada on December 2013.
Unlike death, though, PGB is not forever. Most of my friends and acquaintances seem to be very much over it or doing a great job at pretending they are. And after all, what is reality but our perception of it?
To clarify, my PGB has less to do with missing university as the institution and more with missing university as a space to meet like-minded people to befriend, date, casually chat, hate on, or network. I have yet to miss studying for exams or writing essays that would please my professors.
It is not uncommon for recent and not-so-recent graduates in my network and outside of it (new york times, buzzfeed, twitter, facebook, etc.) to complain about how hard it is to meet new people or keep in touch with old friends and acquaintances once you finish University. And this rings very true to me.
At university, I met most of my friends in residence, at house parties, and events or clubs on campus. I also met some of my friends in class.
After university I lived in New York for a summer and I was in intense travel mode all throughout. I met most people through couchsurfing, which made it easy to meet other people who were travelling, working there for the summer, or visiting. I actually made some really good friends on that trip but I can't exactly hang out with them, unless I am willing to drop upwards 500$ in flights and accommodation per visit.
I then went to live in France through a government-funded "Language Assistant" exchange program to teach English. Besides being in travel mode again, I was in a rural town of southwest france devoid of (cool) young people so everyone in the program, or at least most of us, became instant friends. There were people from all over the world and we somewhat keep in touch, I believe those who are still in the same general area in Europe see each other quite often. I will definitely go visit them!
In my last stop in Haiti, it was difficult to make friends because of security guidelines BUT because of the same guidelines, I would hang out with the same expats every week. Eventually we became friends. Maybe not lifelong friends but friends.
These 4 experiences (University, New York, France, and Haiti) have one thing in common in terms of socialization. The context almost forced me to hang out with people in a similar situation as me on a regular basis - whether they were students in Toronto, travellers in New York, language assistants in France, or expatriates in Haiti. This made it more likely to find friends and the occasional cute guys.
Now that I'm back here, it's different. I am often too tired to go out after work. I also live in a suburb far away enough from Toronto that it's inconvenient to go "downtown" unless I have solid plans. I do go out on the weekend but I tend to just hang out with my friends and I already know them! I guess I could make friends at work, and I have, I am lucky to have a great work environment with lots of people my age (note: LOL as if anyone would say otherwise online but I swear it's true). I am also outgoing enough that I get along well with most people at the office. However, I rather keep my work life separate from my weekend life.