Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College by Caroline Kitchener

Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College

An honest and deeply reported account of five women and the opportunities and frustrations they face in the year following their graduation from an elite university.Recent Princeton graduate Caroline Kitchener weaves together her experiences from her first year after college with that of four of her peers in order to delve more deeply into what the world now offers a femal...

Title:Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College
Author:
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ISBN:0062429493
Number of Pages:320 pages

Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College Reviews

  • Brianna Westervelt

    This title particularly appealed to me (even before I requested the ARC) because, as I rapidly approach the two-year mark since my college graduation, I was eager to discover how other people my age traversed those initial months and years out of college. And I'm particularly happy to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

    From the description and upon reading the introduction, I did not expect this book to have such a narrative. Nonfiction about #postgradlife will surely be about facts and fi

    This title particularly appealed to me (even before I requested the ARC) because, as I rapidly approach the two-year mark since my college graduation, I was eager to discover how other people my age traversed those initial months and years out of college. And I'm particularly happy to know that I am not alone in my struggles.

    From the description and upon reading the introduction, I did not expect this book to have such a narrative. Nonfiction about #postgradlife will surely be about facts and figures, I told myself. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Caroline Kitchener's unique perspective of this particular state-of-being that is not talked about nearly as much as it should be.

    Kitchener details the post-grad lives of Denise, Alex, Michelle, and Olivia--weaving her own story into the narrative, as well. And all five of them graduated from PRINCETON. They can't have too many struggles coming out of an Ivy League university, right? Says the girl who graduated from a top state research university in the Midwest. If anything, these Ivy Leaguers should have it better, right? To say that this group had their share of struggles is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Yes, there was some mundane relationship drama that I rolled my eyes a little at (to which I couldn't exactly relate anyway), but there was also fear. Fear is a surprisingly big part of one's initial years after graduation. And I know what that feels like. Once you graduate college, for the first time in your life there seems to be no plan. You don't know where you'll be in three months, in six months, or a year. It's an intimidating prospect, to say the least. But Kitchener marvelously captured that uncertainty and fear we all feel as we depart our university's hallowed halls, no matter the geographic location.

    It seems quite an ambitious project to follow the lives--and tell the stories, no less!--of these women in the year after graduating from Princeton. I'm finding it difficult to simply maintain friendships with people from college, much less WRITE and PUBLISH a book about them!

    Hats off to you, Ms. Kitchener, as I await your next ambitious project.

  • Morgan Jerkins

    Boy, I wish I would've had this book when I graduated from college back in 2014. Nevertheless, the book shows just how stressful and transformative that first year out of undergrad truly is.

  • M.E. Ficarra

    Highly recommend! The first year out of college is a tough one for many women, who may find themselves suddenly removed from the tight-knit communities they developed--but no one really talks about it. Kitchener tackles the experiences of these five women with honesty and empathy, and I am grateful that she has shed some light on this shadowy, confusing, post-college period. At a time when many young women feel isolated, Kitchener shares a simple, but important message: you are not alone.

  • Eva Dunsky

    This is exactly the book I needed to read right now and I'm so grateful it was written.

  • Quinn Moran

    Loved, loved, LOVED this book! Especially for college women who are nearing the end of their undergraduate experience. The book was following the lives of 5 women, and the stories were real, vulnerable, and relatable. I would recommend it to all of my friends!

  • Ari

    IQ "Sometimes she [Denise] had to remind herself that, even though she didn't have a tight group of best friends, she did have a lot of people who cared about her. They were just scattered" (177).

    I don't think it's news to anyone that recent college graduates face a lot of anxiety about leaving college, there's excitement and fear combined with the fact that you are leaving a community. But I am glad that this book was written to explore in particular how young women deal with the first year out

    IQ "Sometimes she [Denise] had to remind herself that, even though she didn't have a tight group of best friends, she did have a lot of people who cared about her. They were just scattered" (177).

    I don't think it's news to anyone that recent college graduates face a lot of anxiety about leaving college, there's excitement and fear combined with the fact that you are leaving a community. But I am glad that this book was written to explore in particular how young women deal with the first year out of college and that the five women in the stories appear to be remarkably candid. Would it have been more interesting if this book chose to profile 5 non Ivy League graduates? Yes. However the author continuously acknowledges the privilege that comes with a Princeton diploma and that 4/5 of the girls grow up in comfortable or extremely wealthy families. Two of the women are women of color and I wish she had pressed them more on the challenges they found in the workplace/post grad life as women of color, while I wouldn't say this narrative is "color blind" (she mentions the family background of Denise, from Cameroon and Olivia who is from Malaysia), she doesn't do much analysis of challenges they faced due to ethnicity as opposed to the author, Alex and Michelle. I also think it would have been interesting to interview a woman of color with non immigrant parents to compare their upbringing, expectations and postgrad experiences. Additionally the book lacks a lot of economic detail, for example I didn't understand the author's income source, yes she writes for a living but how does that work fresh out of college, did she struggle to get by? These are things I would have liked to see her openly delve into but instead she glosses over it to talk about having roommates and then eventually moving in with her boyfriend. I didn't want to assume her family helped her get by but she so rarely talks about her financial struggles that I was forced to draw my own conclusion which does not help this book with charges of elitism.

    There is a good deal of statistical analysis in the introduction and throughout the book that helps anchor the personal stories. I did appreciate this book confirming what I've long suspected, women in my generation want committed relationships once they graduate. I had a hard time reconciling the hookup culture portrayed in movies and TV shows with the behavior of all my friends, they have no interest in sleeping around, instead they want stable romantic relationships. And as Kitchener notes this is not to say they want marriage right away, but they do want to start planning and have that aspect of their life figured out while they pursue professional achievement. This was both encouraging (I was right hooray for literary validation) and discouraging (the women agonize for far too long over professional choices due to the presence of their significant others). At the same time there are few mentions of sexual health which I found odd since this topic consumes a lot of time for my friends and I, once you graduate college you still need to have a plan in place for what you want to do if you were to get pregnant or the stress of potentially having a STD. The book's complete utter lack of attention to such a crucial aspect of our lives struck me as odd and I found it off-putting. Similarly not much time is spent on the struggle to make friends in the workplace or outside of it, while the author and Alex work from home, the others do not but they spend more time talking about their partners than they do on friendships outside of the ones from college.

    I'm glad this book exists and I would encourage new college graduates to read it, with the caveat that book is not particularly revolutionary in its analysis or the conclusions it draws. It's a great starting point, the idea of re-creating the community-sized hole left in your life once you finish college, but I wanted the author to probe her friends a lot deeper than she did. But these young women are fun to get to know and I wish them all the best and it's enjoyable and relatable to watch them come into their own.

  • Susan

    This was an interesting book about 5 young women in the year after their graduation from Princeton. The author writes about herself and 4 classmates, weaving their family history and time and Princeton into their post- grad lives. The stories are compelling and the author does an excellent job portraying the hope, fears, angst, and joy of her subjects. Nearly thirty five years after my own graduation from an Ivy League institution, I was struck by how much more angst students have about their fu

    This was an interesting book about 5 young women in the year after their graduation from Princeton. The author writes about herself and 4 classmates, weaving their family history and time and Princeton into their post- grad lives. The stories are compelling and the author does an excellent job portraying the hope, fears, angst, and joy of her subjects. Nearly thirty five years after my own graduation from an Ivy League institution, I was struck by how much more angst students have about their futures, which I attribute to their experience of living through the Great Recession-but three of the grads were from families wealthy enough to ensure they didn't need to work. A quick read and fascinating.

  • Felicia Owens

    I couldn't put this one down! I so quickly became so invested and engrossed by these young women's lives. Got me thinking about my post-graduation year in a whole new way. Highly recommend!

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