“Go to college,” they said. “…It’ll be fun,” they said—and for once, they were right.
Two months ago, I was wrapping up my senior year at Howard University. The countdown to commencement had begun and with exactly a week left, reality started sinking in. Finals had been a distant memory and the only thing on my agenda was enjoying what Senior Week had to offer.
In the midst of the bar crawls and happy hours, one pesky question kept the whiskey in my glass from doing its job.
“What are you doing after graduation?”
Well, aren’t you original?
“I’m just going home,” was always my answer. It sounded a bit more basic each time the words left my lips.
“But you’re from New York. You make it seem like going home is a bad thing.”
No argument there. New York has always been my first love. The brilliant blend of grit and grandeur, the mean mugs—it’s home. But was I ready to be back under a roof with my mother and younger brother after being on my own for the last four years?
Absolutely. I was tired of coming home to a fridge full of junk food. Even more tired of spending $70 in Target every two days for said junk food. I missed the days in high school where I could spend all day with my friends and go home and miss them. There was no real “alone time.” The thought of coming home to dinner excited me. Living in New York City for free. Sign me up.
The days flew by, and before I knew it, I was on the road. The unpleasant feeling of dry swallowing a pill was overbearing. College was over. It was time for the “real world” as grown ups like to call it. Funny thing is, in high school they tell you college is the real world. But college was like a fantasy.
During my first week home I discovered another string of words that may have been more annoying than asking about post-grad plans.
The small talk about my recent accomplishments would always splatter a smile across my face even if those weren’t my intentions. Their closing remarks are what had me giving them side eyes. “Congrats! It only gets worse from here.”
What do you mean? Diddy told me I am a unicorn. The possibilities are endless.
During the month that I’ve been home, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the worst part about being home isn’t your mom nagging you about the dishes or the garbage. It’s retreating back into a state where those around you have become complacent. It’s working in that retail store that sucks and realizing that this will never be enough for you. It’s realizing that, yeah, you’ve gotten your degree, but the real work begins now. It’s grind time. Time to prove them wrong. It does and will get better.