Before you leave Mills College, you have to know one thing: It isn’t like the real world.
While occasional glitches may present themselves, for the most part, Mills is a safe cocoon where you’re encouraged to raise your hand and ask questions. You establish close relationships with your professors. While attending Mills, I regularly asked my advisor how his 6-foot-6-inch son was doing, and when I could ask him on a date.
Diving into the real world after leaving Mills truly shocked me. I graduated a semester early, which ultimately felt like punishment. Why did all of my friends get to stay at Camp Mills while I pounded the pavement in San Francisco looking for work? Directly after graduating, I interned at a magazine in San Francisco where I couldn’t even afford the daily BART fare of $7. The worst part? It was mindless, tedious work that included mailing packages and organizing binders.
Somehow, though, I got a job working at a newspaper in Santa Cruz. While I thought it was my dream job, it further proved my theory that nothing else feels like Mills. While pounding out article after article on deadline, I dreamed of strutting around campus in my cutoff shorts, my legs bronzed and my hair bleached from hours spent in the pool during swim team. If I could only get back to that time in my life; the time I felt the most beautiful, strong and valued.
In an attempt to chase after that feeling of contentment that Mills gave me, I left my job and moved back up to the Bay Area. I just started a new job as development and marketing associate at A Home Within, a nonprofit in San Francisco that offers open-ended pro bono therapy to foster youth. My sublet in Oakland falls through in two weeks and I have absolutely no idea where I’ll live, but for now, I feel at ease. I’m making a difference in the world, and I’m back in the Bay Area’s embrace.
I don’t want all of this to depress you. If anything, I want it to light a match under your ass to do whatever it takes to continue living a life inspired by Mills College. I always thought I’d have everything figured out by the time I graduated from college. While this isn’t the case, I acquired even more precious knowledge: I figured out what I want out of life. I want to listen to Lou Reed several decibels too loud. I want to swim for so long, the hairs on the back of my neck turn white. And I want to write letters to Mills students that are terrified to enter the real world, yet know that somewhere, there’s a burnt-out yet hopeful alum thinking about them.
For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.