Home > College, Jobs, Musings, Writing > College Grad: What I’m Doing with the Free Time

College Grad: What I’m Doing with the Free Time


I graduated with my undergraduate degree almost a month ago now, and I must admit that I was worried about what I would do after school ended. The summer is always a weird, ambiguous time when you are in school…at least, it is for me. I thrive on the school work and the structured schedule of college. But, when you throw me into summer time, I tend to falter slightly. What should I do with myself?

This summer proves to be somewhat different in that I am not going back to school in the fall (I’m still sorting out that big graduate school question: What do I want to study?) So, as I search for a job and think about what I want to do with my life, I have had to grapple with how to entertain myself until a job comes skidding around the corner to ruin my new-found freedom.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to work. And I am excited to see what kind of work the world can offer outside of the retail I’ve been in for a couple years. However, the anticipation is somewhat darkened by my fear that the jobs I have applied for won’t make me happy.

See, that’s one thing I’ve been trying to do post-graduation: figure out what will make me happy. I was shocked to find that after almost a month of sitting at home, reading and writing, that I am fairly content. I am almost afraid to give that away. If only there were a way I could continue to do this and get paid. Unfortunately, my short stories haven’t been published and reading tends to not get me any money. Thus, I have grappled with what jobs would truly make me happy.

I try not to let these thoughts consume me too much because I want to enjoy the free time that I have now. Some things that this free time has allowed me to do include:

  • Reading books for pleasure (This is huge for me, because during school I often don’t have enough time to read what I want to read. As an English major, I tended to have enough texts to read). One book I have especially been excited to be able to read (again) is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I am reading the Penguin Classics edition translated by Robin Buss. This edition is the unabridged version, which makes me extremely happy (1200 pages of a well-written, engaging story of revenge). If you haven’t read this book, I urge you to. Even as a recent English graduate, there aren’t too many classics I would necessarily tout as being must-reads, but Monte Cristo should be read more. It’s one of my favorite books, which is why I was excited at the prospect of reading it during this transitional time.
  • Writing for pleasure (Again, this is amazing to me because during school I had NO time to write for fun since I was always writing a paper for one of my courses). I love to write fiction, and I haven’t been able to do it much since I took a fiction workshop course at school. Now, I try to wake up and write some of my WIP (work in progress). It’s still tough to write for pleasure; mostly because, I, like many others, tend to procrastinate and tell myself I will write when I feel like writing. Well, the issue is that I don’t usually feel like writing, so fighting myself to do it anyway has been something I have worked on during my free time.
  • Go to the gym regularly (Now, I could do this at school since I fit it into my schedule four days a week; however, I am worried it will be more difficult once I get a job). Working out is my stress relief, and since I have little stress in my life at the moment (definitely not complaining!), working out has aided me in feeling the best I have in a long while. One reason I don’t look forward to a regular job is that it will interfere with my work out schedule. How will I handle going to the gym at 5 or in the morning before work? How wiped out will I be? Will I have to choose the gym over seeing friends?
  • Hang out with friends (I hung out with friends at school, but it was more difficult to do so when I had a full schedule of upper-level course all requiring copious amounts of reading and writings, especially when I wanted to ensure an A in every course). Now, I don’t have a schedule to interfere with seeing people and I can go out and just enjoy friends’ company without worrying about my homework or real work.
  • Blog (I have never had time to blog until now). I enjoy blogging. I am surprised at how much I enjoy it, even with no one looking at my posts.
  • Think seriously about my life (There is always time to do this, but when nothing is getting in the way, it is certainly much easier). Mostly, I have thought about what kind of work I want to do. What will I do if I don’t enjoy a job I get? Do I want to go to grad school? When? For what? Recently, I applied for a freelance writing job, something that would be a little more difficult than a regular scheduled job, but which would allow me the freedom to go the gym, work when I wanted, read for pleasure, and write for work and pleasure. Is freelancing the way to continued freedom? Or can we find freedom with a full-time office job?

I’m as nervous as any recent graduate about the rest of my life, but I am trying to enjoy this freedom while I can. Because the things I love most in life are things that take time (reading, exercising, and writing).

  1. June 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Having pleasures such as reading and writing are handy because they can be done anywhere (of course everyone has their preferences). I’m still in retail with a sporadic schedule, so I have to plan my pleasures around that, for example by making sure I write in the morning if I know I have to work that night. I’ve also come to love audiobooks so I can read as I travel or do chores. I read “The Count of Monte Cristo” when I was little, but it was the abridged version. I will add it to my list of things to read ASAP. Best of luck to you!

    • June 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      I have thought about audio books myself. I’ve heard from a few people that the narrators of some audio books are not the best. Have you ran into this problem?

      I read “The Count of Monte Cristo” for the first time when I was younger (15, perhaps) and I read the abridged version then, like you. The unabridged version is very well translated in the Penguin edition and I am actually enjoying it more now than I did as a teen. I hope you enjoy it should you read it.

      Thank you for the well wishes.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: