What it’s like living at college after college

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“See ya, mom, I’m headed back to school. I mean work. I mean my room. I mean Saint Vincent. I mean..never mind.”

During one’s momentous senior year of creating lasting memories with friends, completing a program seventeen years in the making, and tediously applying to just about any job that semi-fits into your field of study (as a history major you do not have the God-given right to be picky when it comes to career selection, because as it turns out, treasure hunting is not a legitimate job…yet), every undergraduate is asked by every single person they know, or don’t know, “what are you doing after graduation?”

At first, from about August to December, its an innocent inquiry that provides a wide-eyes senior with a gracious reminder to keep the eye on the prize and that life exists after the turning of the tassel. At the start of the spring semester, with the pressure mounting and the reality of an “end” to the glory years sinking in, this question invokes a sense of uncertainty and urgency. If you have yet to nail down an employer and/or decided against deferring your loans and chasing a Master’s degree, you may find yourself avoiding an answer and instead, ramble about the terrible job market and focusing on grades. By the time March rolls in like a lion, so does the fear. Every time you hear this agonizing question, the fear grows bolder. It creeps up in the precious moments spent with friends. It invades your schoolwork, and persuades you to ignore and procrastinate assignments, just to meet one more precious deadline. And it renders you sleepless on occasion.

Fortunately in my case, March went out like a lamb. An organization in Pittsburgh offered me full-time employment (the crowning jewel of a job hunt), and I planned to embark on this new adventure just one week after graduation. Finally I had an answer, and it felt fantastic. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you see your glasses, this job lasted a grand sum of 2.5 months. But that my
friends, is a story for a different day.

God’s plan is truly awesome. Don’t ever underestimate what he has in store. Soon enough, I was hired as a Residence Hall Director of Saint Vincent College, my alma mater. This misunderstood term, in its broadest sense, means I live in a college dormitory, manage a staff of prefects ( or RA’s if you will), and serve as an on-call administrator for campus.

For those taking notes, that folks, is how you never leave college.

Interestingly enough, if I thought the above-mentioned interrogation was a tough one, the “where do you live now” is a real doozy. Some people really struggle to make sense out of my situation. I can’t really blame them. Next to no one can fathom why I continue to reside in a dormitory after graduating, and its difficult to describe my role to a non-residence lifer. You gotta live it to get it.

So here is what I’ve learned thus far:

My job is emotionally draining and physically tiring, but immensely rewarding and meaningful. I don’t have a full apartment equipped with a kitchen, but I am honing my microwave cooking skills and savoring short grocery store trips and meal prep time. My inaugural Homecoming weekend proved a bit anti-climatic since I was already there, but I saved a ton on gas and a hotel. I work until all hours of the night, but the stars are brightest at 3 am and sunrises rock. I live among college students, still look like a college student, and am often the same age or even younger than college students, but hey, students is what made college a blast in the first place, right?

I could practically write a book with all these unique aspects of my living situation and maybe someday, I will. But for now, I will leave you with this. We all have a story and it is a part of a much greater plan we cannot begin to comprehend. Do not compare your story to others. Yours was written just for you. Relish your reality and proclaim it loud and proud.

“See ya mom, I’m headed home.”

Kelsey

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