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GRADADULTHOOD: Expectations vs Reality

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Graduates happily throwing up their graduation hats

As a child, I spent a lot of my time imagining what life would be like when I finally became a Grown-up.

I thought about where I’d live.

What age I’d move out.

How I’d have the freedom to come and go as I had alike.

What my dream house would look like.

How I’d have my own money to get the things I wanted, and just all the amazing things a child thinks they’ll be able to do when they become an adult.

Looking back now, I wish I had spent more time then, just living in the moment.

Enjoying having parents who prepared 3 meals a day for me and sometimes more.

Or the protective bubble in which I lived that replicated but was actually nothing like the real world in which adults live.

Maybe if back then I’d known all the things I now know, I wouldn’t have been enticed into trying the 1 month free trial of adulthood that months later, I still haven’t figured out how to opt-out of.

So how about we put things into perspective.

As graduates, we have lots of expectations as to how the world of adulting will operate. However, as we each navigate adulthood in a post-graduation phase I like to call “Gradadulthood”, we realize that there are expectations and then there is the reality. For example:


Expectation: You will remain friends with all the people you spoke to during University after Graduation.

Reality: For the average person, out of sight also means out of mind. Once you graduate you’ll realize that thoughts of some people no longer come to mind. People who you use to spend almost every day talking to or going out with will eventually cease to exist in this new chapter of your story. And no this wasn't my attempt to sound like the Grim Reaper, I'm just stating the facts.


Expectation: You had a booming social life throughout University and you intend to keep this up even after you graduate.

Reality: After graduation, life will come at you fast. You are now a fully-fledged adult which means you’ve got adult-like responsibilities. Your parents will no longer be financially supporting you and if by the off chance they are, they are no longer willing to fund your social life exploits. So, If my pocket can’t afford it, guess who’ll be staying home (This Girl! ).


Expectation: The first job you land after graduation will also be your dream job.

Reality: The average graduate spends 6 months to 1 year on the job-hunting trail before landing their first full-time job. By the time they land this job, they were already so desperate for work that they are willing to accept almost anything that is offered to them from almost any company. Which chances are will not be from or at their first choice on the list of possible places to work.


Expectation: Now, that you are free from the captivity of institutionalized schooling, you’ll finally be able to pursue your dreams of traveling the world.

Reality: Travelling requires money. Unless you were somehow lucky enough to be born into third-generation wealth or were simultaneously working and saving while in University, you might need to kiss those dreams of traveling the world, goodbye at least for the time being


Expectation: You'll be able to afford all the things you want and more.

Reality: The first job you get will only be paying you the base salary for someone with your degree or even less due to your limited work experience. This means that while technically you are working and earning your own source of income, it may not be much so to ensure it stretches you'll need to do a lot of budgeting. So really, you may not actually be able to afford the things you want to begin with, just the things you need.


Expectation: You'll be able to pay them off within the first year of graduating.

Reality: A few seconds ago I explained to you how long it takes for the average person to land their first full-time job. That considered, do you really think you'll be able to get rid of those pesky student loans so fast? I think not. I'm glad you came to your senses.


Expectation: You'll be able to move into your own place the minute you graduate, instead of returning home to live with your parents.

Reality: Living on your own leads to having bills to pay, having bills to pay requires money, having money means getting a job, to get a job you need a call back for an interview. No interview means no job and no job means no money...I think you get the point.

Can you think of any other topics, we as 20 somethings have expectations for that are in need of a reality check? If so, be sure to comment them down below.

As always thank you for reading. If you haven't already, go follow us on Instagram @survivingyour20somethings and on Facebook @survivingyour20somethings. Don't forget to like, share and subscribe. See you guys next week!!!

#Gradadulthood #Survivingyour20s #20SomethingandThriving

Juanique Tennant - Creative Writer and Blogger

Hi There!

I'm Juanique better known as Jae T.

A 20something on a mission to impart as many Life Hacks, Career Development Tips, and Adulting Tricks, to young adults looking not just to survive but thrive as they navigate year 20something.

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