Disclaimer: I wrote this about 4 years ago and have let it sit.  I wrote it in a bad place in my life, but I think it does say something about the current generation of college grads having a tough time post-graduation.  So, I guess I might as well share it with the world.  It might be a little..ok very cynical and angry, but it came from a place of self-perceived failure.  Read at your own risk.

 

 

Dear College Students/Recent Grads:

Welcome to Hell!

Some of you are lucky enough to be currently enrolled in a school of your choosing!  You’re learning all that you need to be a “well-rounded” individual and ripe for the picking right after you get that diploma!  The future is vast and bright and you’re living in the best days of your lives!

Some of you have just entered the workforce, or are looking because you just graduated!  Congratulations, you’re screwed!

All sarcastic pessimism aside, I’d like to take you on a journey through what I can only describe as two and a half years of pure torture.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my life is a literal gutter of shit, but I’m saying I’ve been struggling for the entirety since my graduation in May 2011 and there seems to be no end in sight.

College isn’t necessarily something I wanted but more of a journey I felt compelled to have to do.  The problem with this outlook, as I’m sure many current students are facing in their early-late college careers, is that I didn’t know what I wanted or what was best for me.  College isn’t going to fix that for you.  I thought it  would, even when I was contemplating skipping college and heading straight for the workforce.  There are subjects and fields you’ll find you’re good in, but those do no necessarily mean you should major in those fields.  In my experience, that becomes an entrapment of circle jerking yourself into believing that you found the solution.  You will then take that belief to everything that you choose from that point on for classes and “dream jobs.”  You must look further.  You must look further into yourself.  College will not fix your identity crisis.

I chose to be an English major because I’ve had plenty of close friends and a teacher here and there tell me that I can write well.  That was something that stuck with me when I was beating my head against a wall to figure out what in God’s name I wanted to do with my life, and how I wanted to treat my latter college years.  I got the necessities out of the way in the first two years: the core classes everyone has to take.  When taking English classes in those first two years, I found myself doing well because I could normally structure a coherent sentence and do some slightly upper-level reading comprehension.  Was this a passion?  For creative writing: sure.  I enjoy it, and I still try to dabble in it from time to time.  So, with this and some positive reinforcement from the aforementioned people in my life, I locked myself in.

Nope.  I’m mediocre at best, but I truly thought this is who I was so I stuck with it to the bitter end.  Until doing the same shit, from reading a book and writing a paper, to reading a book and writing a really long final paper, until the day I graduated made me realize this wasn’t a full on passion, but it was probably a field that I wouldn’t excel in.  Not to mention the few times I wrote for an upper-level creative writing class I got such horrible feedback from not only students but harsh professors that I will probably never write a story again.  And I’ve repressed that to the point where I don’t even know if I’m able.  That’s a different psychoanalysis for another time.

The point of my (long, pissy, sobby, cry-baby) story is that when you allow college subjects to be your only source of self discovery, you’re really going to find that you will latch on to something hollow instead of something fulfilling, and end up like a lot of current gradated: trapped and underemployed.  And that’s if you’re lucky.

A lot of current college grads are either unemployed or underemployed.  That means people, like me, are stuck in dead-end jobs, if we can find one, for smaller wages, and didn’t even need a degree to be there.  That’s why picking a major is so vital.  Because even if you can’t get something in your field right now, at least you know what you did was worth it.  You know that when that day comes, you’ll have the drive and the love to land something you will be doing for the rest of your life.

My suggestion to those of you, like me, who aren’t sure their direction in life: wait.  Leave college alone until you’ve discovered more about yourself.  The debt isn’t worth it.  The stress isn’t worth it.  Class stress is hard enough, but post-college money stress is tenfold.  Once you find what it is you would love to be doing, then I say get your degree and network the hell out of yourself.  You won’t do that if you don’t have the passion for it.  Without the drive behind it you will go through the motions until the bitter end and then be stranded saying: now what?

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angry-henry-rollins

Music is arguably one of the few constants in our lives.  Throughout the years people come and go, jobs come and go, our ideals come and go.  But despite all these things, it’s safe to say that music is here to stay, and even then, our tastes can change drastically.  One minute you’re a teenager listening to Korn, the next minute you’re a 28-year-old adult thumbing through a Folk Punk playlist on Spotify (in no way is this circumstantial. Nope.).  What does musical taste, and especially changing musical tastes, say about us?  I don’t know but I’m going to try and tell you anyway, as best I can.

First off, let me give you some insight on my current musical tastes.  I can’t necessarily pinpoint it at all times, but at the time being I am into metal. Well, let me be more specific.  I’m into what can only be described as nihilistic, depressing, and overall a bleak and skewed vision of the world type of metal.  Deathcore seems to be the main genre to deal with this type of ideology.  I will be mainly focused on Thy Art is Murder and, for a recent release, The Browning’s “Isolation” album.

I find metal can be aggressive, yet fun.  Bands can be goofy, yet really know how to get the adrenaline pumping.  I’ve also found bands like As I Lay Dying (ironically, for multiple reasons) and Killswitch Engage like to have more positive and endearing lyrics about overcoming struggle and striving for becoming something better.

Currently, I’m not into that.  I mean I still love that music, but it isn’t what my brain is looking to grab onto at the moment. In the dead heat of summer, and during one of the best times of my life I am looking to listen to only the darkest, and, more importantly, cynical forms of metal.  My brain is cyclical in terms of what I want to hear.  Months ago it was fun hip hop.  It was Tech N9ne and whatever he has on his Strange Music label.  Hell, sometimes it’s more poppy and upbeat, like the time I sat in a McDonald’s drive-thru listening to “Hotline Bling” at 3 a.m.(it was a very strange time for me).

So why do lyrics like “hatred unleashed upon the Earth drowning inside of you” and “I feel nothing inside of me/ I am, I am, empty, empty” become so appealing? Is this a reflection of some inner piece of me that truly hates everything and wants to be left to die alone?  Damn, that got heavy fast.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am far from aggressive, and yet everything I put into my ears is meant to get me to want to put a hole in the wall.  Right now the only music that’ll satisfy my needs is what will make me feel like the world is going to hell.  The other day I was taking a jog as I was listening to The Browning’s “Isolation” album, which is cover to cover a examination of how society, humanity, and the world has become something to be loathed.  Maybe this is my subconscious telling me I want to hate everything.  Maybe being connected to the internet and seeing only bad news in the media has warped me into wanting to listen to music about the deconstruction of humanity and it’s social constraints.  Maybe I just like aggressive music and I’m overthinking it.

Music does seem to take its toll on my mood after awhile.  I listen to certain Eminem songs when I’m really down. I listen to certain genres when I’m feeling like I need a breath of fresh air.  Sometimes I want music that I can let my brainwaves go wild, so I’ll throw on the best TOOL album, Lateralus, which is not up for debate.  Lately I’ve been worried that the nihilism would bleed into my everyday life and effect my mood more permanently.  I don’t want my perception to be warped by the sounds of absolute hatred and the defeat of humanity.  I want to see a future that’s less debilitating.  And that’s where this really comes to a head.

Perhaps we think of music as a reflection of our inner-selves, and in a way there will always be truth in that.  What interests us speaks to us in ways we sometimes can’t even understand.  The art that we see our reflection in isn’t something we necessarily control, though we can try to find new types of art and interests that are outside our normal realm.  That’s why I mentioned the Folk Punk playlist, I wanted to see what else I could hear that was more refreshing, if not completely new. I want to be spoken to by something else, while still clinging to the old reflections of art that have imprinted on my inner-self.  But maybe art is just a channel for us to exercise these feelings and thoughts, or at least look at them and embrace them only for a little while.  For example, I don’t think the world is as bad as Thy Art is Murder or the Browning seems to be portraying it, but there’s something exciting about staring into a dark abyss for an hour or two and just letting yourself fill with dread and rage and then come out of it.  Let yourself feel something different so that you can know what it is like to feel it, then let it go.  For me, anger used to come easily.  Now, I don’t let it come.  Exercising negativity can help us be happier in the end.  I reflect on what I think is wrong about the world, only to see something else when I’m done.