All in Graduation

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Mountaintop Moments

Removed from the college bubble and re-planted in a new life, the field is wiped clean again. I have to again make a real, conscious decision about where I fit in and how I stack up. There seem to be metrics in place for who’s “winning” post-grad—high-power job? committed relationship? best apartment? coolest city?—but there’s no prize. New York is enormous, and social media is a daily tidal wave, and there have been days when I feel so small.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: A Letter to the Recent Grad

I took graduating really hard. Like, really hard. I left school having absolutely nothing figured out with absolutely no answers, and spent most of the summer crying to my parents and denying the fact that I could no longer get dollar drinks at the bar (one of the rudest awakenings about post-grad life…). I felt lost without my friends, without the walls of UNH that protected us all so neatly, and without my identity as a student.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: What to Expect When You're Expecting (to Graduate), Part II

In the first post I wrote for this series I talked about not wanting to leave Nashville after I graduated at the end of this semester. I talked about my fear of losing comfort and the home that I have built in a city I didn’t have to be convinced into adoring. I even emphasized the point by writing three times in italics—I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. When I went back to read this post five minutes ago, I almost laughed out loud into my mocha.

Since I wrote that post I have decided to stay in Nashville and the voice of fear that screamed loud about not wanting to leave screams even louder about not wanting to stay.

I don’t want to stay. I don’t want to stay. I don’t want to stay.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: What to Expect When You're Expecting (to Graduate), Part I

It’s 7 pm. The white Christmas lights that are lined with postcards from my semester abroad and the ones that are wrapped around my headboard are twinkling against their respective walls. There are two kittens curled up on top of each other at the foot of my bed and I have set up camp in the chair that barricades me into my “reading corner.” I just finished a short story I was assigned in creative writing that dug its claws deep down into my writer’s soul and as I type a Bath and Body Works candle spits fumes of vanilla marshmallow out into the air.

I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave.

Make An Effort: 5 Things I Learned About Keeping Friendships After College

About a year ago, halfway through my senior year, one of my friends who had just graduated said, “Maintaining friendships in post grad life is hard, but it’s all about making an effort.”

I believed this at the time but I was still in denial that I wouldn’t be as close to my best friends as I was in college. How could everything change so quickly? Would all of the effort we had put into these friendships these past four years just go to waste?

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Learning to Be

The amount that I miss college has grown vast and visceral these days. The new school year started on the same day that I started my job, and it felt wrong to be running to catch the subway when I should have been running to class. I don’t have my friends around to ground me, to remind me of our four-year and forever home. I used to find God at nighttime Mass, on service trips, in philosophy discussions; without those elements at my fingertips, I’m restless. My nostalgia is beyond what can be prettified by an Instagram filter; it’s heavy, and lonely, and I have felt inexplicably and irrationally isolated in bearing its weight.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2017

We owe everyone who has contributed their stories at least a year’s worth of lattes as a token of our gratitude, but alas, this simple “thank you” will have to carry the weight of our appreciation instead. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has written for, read, and supported That First Year this past year. We exist because of and for YOU and we can't wait for what 2018 will bring to this community. 

Here are the top 10 most-read posts of 2017. Enjoy these stories from some incredible writers.

It's Okay To Be Imperfect

Even so, I’ve been surprised at the feeling of worthlessness that has come alongside this period of quiet. The questions in my mind of, what am I contributing to anybody? Am I allowed to still be “resting” or is this really just laziness now? Is everyone around me wondering what I’m doing with my time? Am I paranoid to be thinking like this? If I’m secure in my identity and my decisions about how to spend my time, where has this fear of worthlessness come from?

Seasons Never Last Forever

It seemed like everywhere I turned these past few months I heard that I was entering the strangest year of my life.

I heard the word miserable more than a few times, confusing and wonderful used in the same sentences. Now, on the other side of this first untethered month, I get it. There’s no end date on my job description, no promise I’ll return to what’s been normal for the past four years.