Most of the acquaintances you run into are ex-group-project members who stayed in town for grad school. Upon running into them, they babble for about twenty minutes about being so-and-so’s research assistant and then ask what you did with your degree. At which point you have to gently break it to them that there’s no work to be found post-graduation in your mutual field. But you’re sure their research experience will come in handy.
No matter how hard you try to avoid the classic ‘student bars,’ you end up chatting up a student at least once every time you head out. Everything’s going well, they’re cute and friendly… and then the inevitable, “So, what’s your major?” question pops up and suddenly you feel like a massive cougar. Sure it’s only been a few years since graduation but the student life seems like an entirely different Universe – one you’re far too old to venture back into.
They took a couple of years off after high school so you’re actually the same age. Plus they seem super mature. No problem there, right? Until it’s the fourth Tuesday night in a row that they’re urging you to come to the bar with them and their seven roommates – and something about the phrase, “I have to work in the morning,” just doesn’t seem to translate.
Yes, you want that big-kid apartment to yourself but renting out a room in a student house saves you $800 a month, which is tough to pass up. That is, until finals season rolls around and you’re the only person who’s done a dish in the past three weeks. But hey, at least you’re no longer being woken up to the chanting of, “Shots! Shots! Shots!” at 3am anymore – or at least, not as regularly.
“Oh, you’re still in town?” Is almost always followed up with, “What are you taking now?” At which point you have to explain that you’re actually working now – believe it or not, the University/College is not the entire population of the city! This fact seems to genuinely baffle most of the people you tell it to.
Because of work? Because the rent is cheap? Because all of your friends stayed and you weren’t sure where else to go? Realistically, even you aren’t sure of the answer. Staying in town was just a default decision when no better option came up.
Most of the original inhabitants of the city left for school and didn’t come back. Which means that most of the people in your age range are people who also graduated and then stuck around. This would be fine if the pool weren’t getting pretty small. Everyone seems to be someone else’s ex – or a close friend of your ex who’s still in town. It’s starting to feel like school never ended at all.
If there’s a silver lining anywhere, it’s that you’re still assumed to be a student. Which means you get 15% off basically everything – because the town is set up that way. It is built specifically around the college population, after all.
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