Navigating the Post-Grad Life in a Pandemic: Finding My Place in the “Real World

Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic was a unique experience, to say the least. As the world adjusted to the new normal, it was hard to feel the excitement and anticipation that comes with finishing school and starting a new chapter in life. But as the dust settled and I started to build a new routine for myself, I realized that the end of my student life was just the beginning of a much larger journey.

As I search for ways to stay busy and productive, I sometimes find myself lost in thoughts and memories. The well-meaning advice from family and friends can be overwhelming, especially when they question my choices and goals. The fear of wasting time and youth seems to be a common theme in adulthood, but I question whether there’s truly a final destination or ultimate goal.

So, yes, I do want to take some time “off” before diving headfirst into the “real world.” But what is the real world? Is there such a thing? For now, I’m choosing to focus on the present and enjoy this time to reflect and grow before taking the next step.

This spring was the end of my life as a student and the start of our life in a global pandemic. So the whole world – including my family, my friends, and myself – was looking in another direction than at my diploma or the dress I wore for my improvised graduation (do you even remember?).

We were so busy with not believing what a global pandemic was doing to our daily life and our plans for 2020, that closing the first chapter of my life didn’t feel as big of a deal as I thought it would all the months before.

The realization that school, and all the good and bad that comes with it, was actually over, came a lot later and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that I finally started to manifest a new daily routine for myself. I am still searching for things to keep me busy, to make me feel productive, for things that justify the three black coffees in the morning (apparently LIVING doesn’t do that sufficiently).


But then there’re those days, where I’m kept busy by untangling my thoughts from my memories, from my feelings, from my past, from my future, until I’m sitting on my bed with a million loose thread ends between my fingers, unsure how they fit together. Where do I knot and where do I cut?

On those days, it feels like they’re talking louder. My dad and my grandma, my ant, friends of my parents, and other adults in my life. Their voices echoing in the idle space of my existence. (It’s only empty, at first sight, you know?)

“Are you sure that you what to take two years off? Don’t you want to start university now? You want to study philosophy?? What should that be good for? You should do something with your money, you wasting it away. You could start managing your pension, it’s never too early for that – at your age, I’ve started to pay into the first insurances, which helped me a lot later in life.”


Don’t get me wrong, I know that all those words and advice are well-meant, and sometimes they actually are well placed.

But most of the time I sit between the cushions, silenced from the overwhelming feeling of already not living right (and haven’t I just started?).

The concept of wasting your time and your youth seems to be a very real fear of adulthood, and I don’t really understand it. How can you waste your time when there is no final destination, no ultimate goal? Tell me, if I’m wrong dad, is there? Is it getting a good job? Becoming a parent? A grandparent even? Is it to build a house? To buy a car?


It seems exhausting to always live for the future; just watching it already drains me. Isn’t the present all we really have?

I guess I should answer your first question here; yes, I do want to have some time “off” before I actually and fully try to find my place in the world. The “real world” you would say.

What’s the real world dad? Are you sure there’s something like that? And if there is, please explain to me then – where do I live right now?