The Concept Of The ‘Sad Grad’

University can be the best three or four years of your life. You meet new people, experience new places, immerse yourself in uni culture and managed to scrape together a degree, which promises a life full of prosperity, opportunities and happiness. But now you’re in the ‘real world’ and you’ve realised that actually, you might be a bit of a sad grad.

girl in graduation cap with back to camera with text overlay The Concept Of The 'Sad Grad'

You now have a job, your friends all now have jobs, you all go to these jobs because that’s what you’re supposed to do now. But you can’t quite let go of uni life. You’re caught in between being a real-life adult with bills to pay and the second year student who woke up at 1pm everyday and whose diet relied on pasta and 3am chicken nuggets.

To be clear, you might not actually be sad, although post graduate depression is a real thing. But it might feel like your life is a bit lacking. How can you still not be quite sure whether it’s safe to reheat your leftover rice in the microwave, but be expected to be doing things like applying for mortgages and thinking about your future?

Does this look like the plate of a grad who has their life together?

If you can relate to any of the following things, it’s quite likely you’re a ‘sad grad’.

1. Still living with your parents and spend most of your life commuting

Living independently is expensive, and after years of freedom at uni, you return to your family home. You hardly pay any rent, Mum cooks your dinner and does your washing, life is pretty easy but ultimately, a little soul destroying after a while.

Within six months you’ll move out and pour 50 per cent of your salary into a mediocre house share not that much closer to work but just because you can’t deal with your family any more and you need your own space.

2. Your bedroom walls need a bit of life on them

Having a photo wall is too uni (and reminds you too much of the good times) and you can’t afford to go al insta and make a gallery wall so now you’re walls are just, empty. You should probably get a poster of some art from a gallery, that would be sophisticated, but would also involve knowing what a good bit of art is and that is just completely beyond you. Maybe hit up Etsy instead.

3. Eating A LOT of penne

You need something delicious, but quick. A meal to take your mind off another stressful day of being a cog in the corporate machine. But you’re too tired and you lack the culinary skills for a proper meal, so you’re just going to revert to what you know. Again. Just as you have nearly every night since you embarked upon your ‘career’ and independence.

4. Definitely owning a copy of Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients

Sure, you still despise the man who banned Turkey Twizzlers, but your mum is concerned that you haven’t so much as looked at a vegetable in 6 months.

5. Signing your life away to a big shot grad scheme…

There is nothing more sad grad than working hard and getting good A-levels, scraping a 2:1 at a good uni and having a medium-to-large amount of fun, only to say fuck it and sign your life away to a unfulfilling grad scheme with ‘great progression opportunities’.

You tell yourself and literally anyone who will listen that you’re only going to do this for the experience and then you’ll quit and do what you really want to do with your life.

6. Your house chat from uni is still as fire as it was when you were actually there

None of you can let go of the glory days when you all lived together, and really lived at that. Now you just exist, someone owns you between the hours of 9-5, Monday to Friday, but your house chat reminds you of a time when you could eat cold pizza leftover from the night before and waste the day away in your dressing gown in front of the telly with zero regrets and no judgement whatsoever.

7. And the group chat is most active at 7:30am

During second year, you couldn’t have imagined a world where you were all up that early and chatting away on your group. But now you fill your morning routine with the same in-jokes from your uni days and screenshots of cringe Insta posts from people you knew back in first year, all whilst asking how everyone’s parents and pets are doing.

8. When you actually do meet up with your old pals, it feels like going home

It’s so soothing for the soul. It feels like everything has changed but also nothing at all. And for that day or weekend, you can forget about the world and pretend that it’s okay to be falling out of a bar at 3am, because you’re still a a student on the inside.

9. Texting Mum very basic life questions at least twice a week

How do I book a dentist appointment? Can I reheat rice? Who’s my GP? How do we pay our water bill? I’ve left some chicken on the side for eight hours, will I die if I eat it? Do we need a TV license?

And Dad makes an appearance when a funny noise comes from your car on the motorway and you consider that you might actually die on the hard shoulder of the M40.

10. Deciding to have hobbies again

The ultimate in sad grad activities. Maybe you’ll take up netball again, or download Duolingo and learn French. We all need something to fill the void and make ourselves feel like interesting and important members of society. It’s also something to add to your Tinder profile.

11. Spending about 90% of your weekdays either talking or thinking about lunch

“What are you having for lunch? Ooh did you make that last night? What’s in it? That smells nice.”

The same conversations about lunch. Every single day. The worst thing is, you kind of enjoy it, and enjoy obsessing about lunch. This is what your life is now. This is what being a sad grad has turned you into. The most exciting thing that happens to you is bagging the last Nakd smoothie in the Tesco meal deal (£2.50 for an individual smoothie, but you can get it in the £3 meal deal, what a bargain).

12. Still regularly wearing your uni stash

Yes, it’s comfy. Yes, it’s nostalgic. But I don’t think the world cares too much whether you were Social Sec of the Cocktail Society or played that one time for the Mens 3rd Hockey Team.

Stash makes great pajamas, relish that nostalgic comfort in your own space.

13. Going back to your uni town within six months of graduating to try and recapture the magic

The sheer excitement you experience when an opportunity arises to go back to your uni town is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Except when you get there, everything is already ‘not the same’ and there are loads of fresh faced kids surely too young to be at uni ruining all the places you used to go.

You bump into a familiar face, explain your very valid reasons for being back a mere six months after graduating and make an unconvincing case for just how together your life is and that you don’t desperately miss being at uni.

14. When your uni email eventually gets deactivated, a little part of you dies inside

Don’t lie, you definitely kept checking them after you graduated.

15. A lot of your tweets are now @ing companies complaining about something

You can’t sort your own problems out so taking to Twitter to complain to companies about the times they fuck up is a very cathartic way of just about holding everything together.

16. Having a Twitter bio either mentions the fact that you’re a graduate or an ‘aspiring’ something or other

We’ve all been there. I graduated 3 years ago and I’ve now finally let go of declaring my degree in my bio and honestly, it feels like a big step in my personal growth.

17. Being really into podcasts now

Getting really into podcasts is a sure fire sign that you’re already completely done with your commute and hurtling towards middle age. You want to enjoy learning again, you tell your mates, before telling them about ten podcasts they should definitely definitely listen to because they are so so good.

Have you ever heard of the concept of the sad grad before, or do you identify with any of these points? I know I do! Let me know in the comments!

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