Based on my experiences, post-grad life is a lot like a game of Jenga. Like the game itself, you build yourself up in hopes of landing that dream job after graduation. Each piece of the puzzle that you carefully remove represents an assignment, an extracurricular activity, or an unpaid internship-pieces you used to build up your repertoire as a viable candidate for future success. However, no matter how carefully you remove the pieces and balance them on top, the puzzle’s collapse is inevitable- it’s only a matter of time.
Your skillful dexterity and patience keep you in the game until now. Your hands begin to sweat and your body tense up as you lock onto a piece you believe will keep you safe for another round. Carefully you begin to nudge the piece and notice the tower of blocks begins to shake. Your heart sinks from the weight of knowing that the game is over. Trying your luck any way you slowly pull the piece out only to watch the tower lean precariously over and fall.
But, it happens all in slow motion, the tower of blocks breaks apart like a demolition scene from a movie. You stare at the pieces strewn at your feet. Frustration and irritation swell up inside of you as you replay the last move in your head. “Which piece should I have had chosen?” “What could I have done differently?”
For me, my postgrad life feels a lot like a game of Jenga, or at least the aftermath. I had naively assumed many things about my degrees and the “benefits” I would reap. Yet the reality is, these degrees are neither “golden tickets” to a magical chocolate factory nor a “FastPass” to the ride of life. The ups and downs that I have experienced since the day I walked off the commencement stage have tempered my naive overoptimism with pragmatic hopefulness.
Faced with student loan repayments, credit cards bills, rent, and the most dreaded- unemployment, I often find myself overcome with stress, anxiety, nervousness, frustration, anguish, despair, hopelessness (the list can go on…). However, despite how overwhelming and often unpleasant postgrad life is, a part of my naivete clings onto that hope that good things will come.
Because isn’t it that hope that keeps us moving forward despite the rejections received and the dejection that is felt? Isn’t it that hope that we agree to another game of Jenga despite knowing how the game will end? That hope that you will win the next round. The hope that life after graduation is as exciting and momentous as you envisioned it would be.