Getting used to being out of college is some kind of odd, perpetual thing. I’m not sure when it’ll completely kick in that my life is and will continue to be entirely different.
Tonight I went to a dinner party at U’s, involving a smattering of groups of two (by association) who nonetheless found ways to socialize back and forth and two and fro with ease. It’s the way a party like that should be, like a dance of sorts where partners switch off and go through the group, and every couple establishes their own pattern.
Five of us were U of C affiliates, all in fact from the same dorm. We fell quickly out of small talk, as we’re wont to do, and instead explored our anxieties and discomforts about adulthood and the realm we’ve been delivered to and were totally unprepared for. Our school fed us Marx and Durkheim, difficult theories and numerous essays. It asked us to speak and write academically, to question constantly. What it didn’t do is explain that once we left, we’d have no use for such things; instead we’d need to deal with infuriating hierarchies and a lack of meritocracy and notions like “branding yourself.” We breed well-concealed, irritating neuroses like rabbits. We worry about closing doors and closing our minds and others’ ambitions coloring our senses of self. It is likely we would only admit this to each other — or only understand each other in the same vein. No one else seems to have eye-roll-inducing existential crises when they confront resumes and cover letters. (So it seems, anyway.)
Getting out of college is being let out of a pen into the big, wide world where no one has your experiences and you have to interact with them anyway. Bumping into people from the recent and far past reinforces who I am today, whether that’s good or not. It does lead me to believe that lots of people exist, and there is still room for my tribe among them. One should never forget one’s tribe.