Dear Cynthia,I had such high hopes when I graduated college. My parents made it seem effortless to find a great job and make a ton of money. I am literally so discouraged at the fact that I’ve been applying for jobs that never call me back and don’t even pay enough to survive in New York City. I have taken three jobs at minimum wage just to make ends meet. I feel like the American dream isn’t what it used to be and Bernie has let us all down with his BS about free shit. I’m up to my eyeballs in student debt and have been late on my rent three times already. Not sure what I should do because moving back in with my parents seems like admitting failure but all my friends are all still living with theirs so perhaps Hillary was right and it’s our generation’s destiny to be basement dwellers.
Any advice would be helpful but please note that I’ve had roommates in the past who smelled really bad and had no money and were always late on the rent…Thanks
Dear Hopeless Millennial:
I feel for you so hard. I think every college student is a little disillusioned by how easy life will be once they graduate. The idea of it is so thrilling, isn’t it? New York City. A dream job. The perfect apartment. Lots of money. Just livin’ the dream! And then, the glittering allure of it all disappears. Reality sets in. And life kicks the shit out of you.
Just so you know, though, you are not the only person who feels like they’re drowning in the Big Apple, and if anyone ever tells you that they never struggled to make it there they are lying. New York City is so expensive it’s almost embarrassing, and the competition to find a job can be so brutal (as you very well know).
Money makes the world go ’round…
There’s no doubt you’re overwhelmed, especially when you have an abundance of student loans hovering over your head and you can’t always make rent on time. And while you’re struggling financially, you’re also slammed with pressure because you want to make your parents proud, you feel like you’re not meeting even your own expectations, and society and social media only makes it worse. But you need to give yourself some credit. Life is hard! And New York City can be an unforgiving bitch. But you’re trying!
I don’t want you to think that moving home with your parents is admitting failure, by the way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a very mature decision to make. There’s nothing wrong with going home to reevaluate things, de-stress from the chaos of the city, and save some money. You can still apply to jobs while you’re there, and your mind will only be that much more focused without the pressure of paying rent and juggling three jobs that you hate.
…but Money isn’t everything
Consider it a great thing that you even have this option! It’s not like you’re moving back for the rest of your life forever, anyway, so don’t feel discouraged when those dreamy ideas of success start swaying through your mind again while you’re there and then you start comparing it to your current situation. And as much as you might feel like it, you are not inadequate and you do not suck at life.
You made a realistic decision and now you need to use this time to your advantage. Use it to revamp your resume and cover letter. Do some soul-searching (and no, that’s not corny). And also find a job at home and pocket every single dollar—that way when you do get back to the city you’ll have all that extra cash as a jumpstart.
I know life is weird for you right now. And it’s only going to get harder and more expensive. Even if you find your dream job the salary still might not be what you’re hoping for. I just want you to let go a little bit of what you had imagined your life to be like when you first graduated college, because that reality barely happens to anyone anymore.
Just keep fighting. Stay motivated. Stay positive. You’ll get there one day. And when you do you’ll appreciate it a million times more because you had to work so hard to make it happen.
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