I spent the summer after graduation in my college town. At the end of May most of my friends filtered out of town, either to move home, or to move to a major city to start their new jobs or internships. They posted about their latest milestones and raked in the likes while I sat on the porch with my best friend watching them drive away from the place we'd lived for four years. I worked three jobs that summer (and for many months after): One at a winery, one at a local cancer resource center, and a waitressing job. I wasn't using my degree, but in my quest to escape from the fact that I had no clue what I was going to do, I ended up doing some really fantastic things.
I was just selfish enough. I wasn't selfish in the sense that I refused to pay my own rent (on the contrary, I made sure I was at the very least able to support myself). But I was selfish in that I was trying to do what was best for me, as opposed to what other people were encouraging me to do.
You're allowed to be selfish after college because for the first time, you really need to be. You're making your own decisions, allocating your own money, and so you're allowed (and encouraged) to take control of your life and really focus on what YOU want and need.
1. How you choose to make your money
The internship and work grind after college is the peak of 20-something anxiety. Either you have one and you're running around, scrambling like a chicken with your head halfway cut off trying to figure out how the hell you're going to pay for your closet in Astoria. Or you don't have one and you're hyperventilating because everyone is living out their perfect Astoria life and you're still at home.
Here's something I believe very strongly in: It doesn't matter how you make money right out of college. It matters that you are making money at all. Whatever you need to do to make money (within reason) to make some cash is what you should be doing. And if that's babysitting, power to you.
2. How you choose to spend your money
The caveat here is that you need to carry out #1 for #2 to apply. But it's very true. Yes, getting help and advice is going to be a great idea, but part of being on your own is understanding what you can and can't splurge on. What you deem as important may be different than what your friends suggest, but be selfish by listening to your gut.
3. Where you choose to live
Your parents might swoop in with huge opposition to where you've chosen to live, but as long as you're paying your rent, or as much of your rent as you possibly can, you have a right to pick your own apartment, roommates and neighborhood.
4. Needing space and time to yourself
Whether you're living with roommates who want to hang ALL DAY or are back at home trying to teach your little siblings the art of SILENCE and how golden it is, this rings true. A lot of what you want to do after your graduate is think and try to figure out what you actually want your next move to be. And to a certain extent, that needs to be done alone.
5. Wanting a little distance from your significant other
Same concept as #4. You need to be making decisions based on yourself right now, and figuring out how your relationship fits into that is stressful. The only way to make decisions without constantly thinking about your S.O. and how it'll affect them is to get a little distance.
6. Trying to find opportunities
Be selfish in that you should be finding opportunities that actually interest you, as opposed to applying for things you parents send you with a cute note that says, "Hey honey! How's that job search?" Professors will try to help and some of them will send awesome opportunities your way. Some won't, and you are allowed to say, "Thank you, but that's actually not what I'm looking for."
7. Who you spend time with
You're no longer obligated to hang out with every friend you had in college, even though half of them were just in your friend group by association. You're not in college anymore and you don't need to keep up with every single person. People go their separate ways and you can't feel personally responsible for that. You can be selfish about your time.
8. What you do on the weekends
You do not need to go out, especially when there's not anyone to drag you out to play beer pong at 1 a.m. Like I said, you should feel comfortable being selfish about your time, and be definitive on how you want to spend it. If you're at the point where it would be wiser (or just more relaxing) to stay in and skip drinks later, then that's exactly what you should do.
9. What you share about your life with the world via phone calls, texts and social media
Choosing to not share isn't even selfish, but because we live in a world where we share constantly, it starts to seem selfish to keep details of your post grad life to yourself. It's not and you don't need to succumb to the pressure of posting updates about your apartment search, job search, etc., if you don't want to.
10. Being honest about how you're feeling with close friends and family
You're not a burden. It isn't selfish to reach out to close friends and family when you need support. That's what they're there for and you would do the same for then. If you're facing challenges, or having trouble with making decisions, you shouldn't feel like you're the only person who's completely overwhelmed and needs to talk things through.
Images: WB, Giphy(6)