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For three or more years, you toiled. Essays, deadlines, hand-ins, stress, terror, elation, despair, and a liver-tremblingly large amount of vodka; University was, as X Factor finalists like to say, an emotional rollercoaster. But at the end of it all, you got your slightly pricey piece of parchment, you wore your oddly angular hat, and you returned home a hero. Yet, who knew that this was where the real struggle was set to start? Here are the top three biggest problems you face as a post-grad...
1. Money ain't a thing...except when it is...which is always...it turns out.
As previously mentioned, essays were rather difficult. You put a lot of time and effort into crafting each paragraph, sentence, even each word—does necessary have two c's or s's? As a result of this, you deserve to TREAT, YO, SELF. Spotify premium is a must. Who on this earth could possibly work with that horrendous "dude, pick a song" advert in their ear every 15 minutes (if you know, you know)? Netflix is also a necessity. You need something to watch as you unwind from a long day essay-ing. Dominos too, of course. A keen essayist like yourself requires prime nutrition on a 14-inch barbecue base.
Anyway, you see the pattern that's developing. Money flies away like swallows in September, and that's fine. That's why you have an overdraft. However, there's a catch. The bastards want you, yes YOU, the one with the Spotify and the Netflix and that juicy, juicy Dominos pizza, to pay them back.
So, you set about getting a part-time job. Shop work in your hometown or something. You'll have this sorted within a month, and then you can go and put that degree to good use.
Five months later...
You're still working at the shop. Meredith from Weymouth is returning a t-shirt because she claims the neck hole is too small and won't fit over her daughter's head. You swear it's a normal-sized neck hole, demonstrating how it fits even your own, fully grown head. All the while, you can't help but wonder just how large Meredith Jr's planet head could be. Your bank account still has a small, horizontal line in front of it.
2. Your body clock is a mess.
You return home, ready for pure relaxation. This is the first time in years you don't have a deadline to work towards. No pressure. Just sleep.
So, it's nothing short of a shock when your slumber is rumbled by your brother's no holds barred rendition of Arctic Monkey's classic "When the Sun Goes Down" in the middle of the night (OK, half-past seven in the morning, but if you're not planning to wake until one, that's the middle of the night).
What is this madness?!
Well, apparently these bloody nutters wake up at this time every day! Your door shakes as the sharp wrapping of knuckle on wood pierces your ears. Your curtains are thrown open and the offensively bright morning light assaults your eyeballs. As they force you to endure this multi-sensory torture, your parent swears their actions are firmly rooted in love, forcing you to get "up and at 'em," "seize the day," "carpe diem." You see through these lies, but eventually concede, quickly googling what carpe diem means and then reluctantly rolling out of bed.
3. It's not your fridge anymore.
Gone are the days when you could fling your fridge door from its hinges and admire the pre-planned meal ingredients that lay in front of you.
Nowadays, you find yourself relying on the family fridge as your food source. This fridge is one that you don't need to stock yourself. "FREE FOOD?" I hear you scream in shock and awe. Well, yes, you're right in thinking the food is free. A glorious concept, I'll admit.
However, this fridge is not your loamy pasture to roam of old, but instead a mine-field of ambiguity.
You can't eat the sausages because your dad plans to use them in a casserole on the second Wednesday of next month, you can't eat the low fat cheese because it's part of your mum's diet, you can't have the Rolo yoghurts (king of yoghurts) because your brother has dibs on them.
You can't win, and resign yourself to a food-free future...which lasts all of ten minutes. You absentmindedly find yourself polishing off a whole block of cheese and await your fate at the hands of the Red Leicester-less fridge master.
Now, I'm well aware I've not painted a perfect scene here. The reality of the situation is, this is only temporary. Soon, you'll be using that degree to release your post-grad shackles and take on the world. You'll be chasing a vocation in a lifelong adventure of ups, downs, lefts, rights, and even some diagonals along the way. So, as Janet tells you of her daughter's further failed attempts to fit her head into another ample neck hole, always remember that you've got this to look forward to.
However, for now, you're immensely grateful to your family for supporting you, letting you stay in their home, and forgiving you for eating unhealthy amounts of their cheese supply.