• Madelynne Juenger

Now what?

Hello again! It’s been quite a while. We last left off in February, a month I spent strolling through the streets of Philly, romanticizing every chilly wind and falling in love with my friends. I filled my kitchen up with the smell of celebratory waffles, birthday cakes, and just-because-cookies. I let my living room be overtaken by movie nights, rants over take-out food, and Galentine’s celebrations. And I gladly let my weekends become consumed with coffee dates, family reunions, and late night studio sessions.

And while I could go on and create a list for each month, I’ll spare you the details and give you a quick breakdown of everything else that happened in the in-betweens: I completed my senior thesis, graduated from Drexel University, nannied in Switzerland, traveled to Italy, went home to Virginia Beach, turned 22, spent two weeks in Philadelphia, moved out of Philadelphia, and am now back home again. Oh, and I also saw the Jonas Brothers in concert. Quite possibly the coolest component of that list.

And so here we are. I have my degree, things have settled down, and now what?

Back in June, I had everything planned out. I would have a job by September, move into a Brooklyn apartment with my friends in the fall, and then slowly get to changing the world. Easy peasy. Of course, every time I told this plan to a family member or “real life adult”, I would be met with a patronizing smile and a worried, “Are you sure you want to live in New York?”

To which I would respond, “Yes! Where else would I live?” Because if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere, right? And there are thousands of businesses in the city, so someone has to hire me, right?

Oh, my poor, naive Madelynne of three months ago...she had no idea what was coming.

Unfortunately, it’s actually kind of hard to get there. I know, I know. I’m admitting that maybe the adults were right about something? Trust me, I’m cringing hard as I type this too. I knew that everyone warned of the post-grad slump, but I whole heartedly believed that I would slump for two weeks and then get back on my feet. Except that’s not actually how it works. It’s been more of a slump for three months.

And let me start with a disclaimer before I complain any further: I’m extremely lucky that I’m able to move back home to Virginia Beach for a while. My parents are super supportive and I recognize that not everyone has the comfort of this safety net. So thankfully, I have a place to stay rent free and that is something I definitely don’t take for granted.

But it’s still a weird adjustment. It’s weird transitioning from living with your friends to moving back home with your parents. It’s weird letting September roll by without going back to school. I have a daily urge to run to Target and buy out all of their pencils and notebooks for an upcoming Art History class that isn’t actually coming.

This is a season of life that I’ve never experienced before and the idea that I could do “anything” with it is overwhelming. And terrifying. And paralyzing.

But also exciting.

I’m trying my best to stay hopeful and inspired, and the best way to do this is to remember why I started in the first place. Simply put: I want to use my love for communication and storytelling to make the world a more optimistic, inclusive, and welcoming place to be. I have to remember this “why” when I’m typing that same sentence into the millions of cover letters I send out every week with no responses. Because the only way to achieve any goal is to keep moving forward. Keep emailing, keep applying, keep writing, keep designing, keep creating, and keep going.

And then maybe treat yourself to some ice-cream.

So if you’re currently in the same post-grad boat or simply feeling a bit confused, I feel you, I see you, and I raise my pint of Ben & Jerry’s to you.

Good luck out there, friends. We got this.

x Madelynne


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