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We’ve Seen It All: post-college life

October 13, 2023

Alfonso Garcia

The leaves may be changing, but this column is here to stay! Welcome back from fall break. In case you’re new here, this is how the advice column with a twist works: All questions are anonymously sent in using the QR code, and older community members write back with their advice. Responses are published every two weeks. Thank you, Bowdoin students, for sending in your questions, and to People Plus—a community recreation center for older adults in Brunswick—for sending back such thoughtful responses. If you’re hoping to submit questions (about anything from love to academics to sports, etc.) please be on the lookout for QR codes around campus.

Something tells me that a bunch of seniors sent in questions this week because we are talking all about life after college! If you’re feeling anxious about what the heck happens after we leave Bowdoin, read on. Next time, we’ll be talking about how to appreciate loved ones. Noticing your parents growing older? Trying to balance time between romantic partners and friends? Stay tuned!

Q: “When did you figure out what you wanted to do with your life?”

A: “I had no choice. I just went for the occupation that I could afford and knew I could get a job in.”

“You will laugh. I was forty years old. I was doing substitute teaching and tutoring. One day I was at church and someone approached me about being a camp director, and I did that for 24 years! Be patient, you will find your way.” – Susan, 81

“I think this is a life-long question. Your life continues to change with age.”

“Very young. I found things that were important to me and put my thoughts and energy toward things that made me feel happy and fulfilled.” – Ed, 62

“I stayed in the military for 21 years.” – George, 81

Q: “I am going to graduate this year and have been thinking a lot about what post-grad looks like. I’m really worried about making friends; do you have any tips for how to make friends when you’re out of school?”

A: “Well, you made friends in school, so you know how to make friends. I would suggest that you share your interests with others. Smile a lot; be friendly! Share, don’t gossip—maybe bake goodies and share.” – Susan, 81

“Go out. Go for hobbies you like.”

“I graduated in 1960. I played sports.” – George, 81

“Find fun activities that you enjoy, so you will be around people with similar interests. You could join an art class, hiking group, kayaking club, etc.” – Ed, 62

“Stay out of BARS! Find friends with your interests (ie., sports, music/concerts, the arts, etc.) Just get out there. You can try things that you normally would not do and find you might like it.”

Q: “What is the best advice you have gotten about making big life decisions (for example, what job to get after college?) On the flip side, what should we NOT put too much importance on?”

A: “Make decisions based on what you are passionate about and not what other people say. Follow your own heart. Follow your vision.” – Ed, 62

“Graduate and get a job. Put less importance on how you feel right now. Go for being independent.”

“Mother = can’t afford to feed you? Enlist in the navy.” – George, 81

“Don’t think your first job is going to pay you what you think you are worth. Your pay increase will get better with your experience.”

“I found that what I studied for in college did not lead to my career. Sometimes, you find a career accidentally! Just try for jobs that look interesting to you.” – Susan, 81


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